Safe as Milk

Safe as Milk

Infobox Album
Name = Safe As Milk
Type = Album
Artist = Captain Beefheart

Released = September 1967
Recorded = RCA Studios, April 1967
Genre = Blues-rock, protopunk
Length = 33:40
Label = Buddah
Producer = Richard Perry and Bob Krasnow
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|5|5 [ link]
* Piero Scaruffi rating-10|9 [ link]
Last album =
This album = "Safe As Milk" (1967)
Next album = "Strictly Personal" (1968)

"Safe As Milk" is the debut album by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, originally released in 1967. It was also the first album released on Buddah Records. The album features generous guitar and arrangement contributions from Ry Cooder, fresh out of his "supergroup" with Taj Mahal, The Rising Sons. (Mahal reportedly contributes some percussion to the album, and another Rising Sons alumnus, bassist Gary Marker, was an engineer for the sessions.) The album also marked the last time that Van Vliet would rely on collaborations on writing and arranging (aside from very few scattered tracks throughout the 1970s).

Release history

The original pressing of "Safe As Milk" included a bumper sticker which depicted the album's title and a picture of the head of a baby doll. John Lennon liked the album so much that he bought a second copy, so that he could have two of the bumper stickers on display in his home. [] At the time of the album's release, it was reportedly Lennon's favorite album.

The album was released in the UK on Pye International, and subsequently reissued in Pye's budget Marble Arch series, albeit bearing Pye International labels on the disc itself, and without the tracks "I'm Glad" and "Grown So Ugly". When Buddah's UK distribution passed to Polydor in 1970 it was again reissued, this time on Buddah in Polydor's budget 99 series and retitled "Dropout Boogie". Initially the tracklisting of this release matched the Marble Arch version, but the missing tracks were quickly restored. This 99 series release was also the first appearance in the UK of a stereo mix of the album.

All prior reissues of the album (many of sub-par mastering and sound quality) have been rendered obsolete by a 1999 Buddha Records CD with sound quality surpassing any previous issues, although stereo imaging remains inevitably crude given the simplicity of the original recordings. The CD also features seven bonus tracks, taken from the sessions of the unreleased follow-up "It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper", and not the "Safe As Milk" sessions.

Track listing

ide one

#"Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do" (Don Van Vliet/Herb Bermann) – 2:15
#"Zig Zag Wanderer" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 2:40
#"Call on Me" (Van Vliet) – 2:37
#"Dropout Boogie" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 2:32
#"I'm Glad" (Van Vliet) – 3:31
#"Electricity" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 3:07

ide two

#"Yellow Brick Road" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 2:28
#"Abba Zaba" (Van Vliet) – 2:44
#"Plastic Factory" (Van Vliet/Bermann/Jerry Handley) – 3:08
#"Where There's Woman" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 2:09
#"Grown So Ugly" (Robert Pete Williams) – 2:27
#"Autumn's Child" (Van Vliet/Bermann) – 4:02

CD bonus tracks

#"Safe As Milk" (Take 5)
#"On Tomorrow"
#"Big Black Baby Shoes"
#"Flower Pot"
#"Dirty Blue Gene"

#"Trust Us" (Take 9)

#"Korn Ring Finger"

Note: Some sources credit "Call on Me" to earlier Magic Band drummer, Vic Mortensen, and not Van Vliet or Bermann.



*Don Van Vliet: vocals, harmonica, bass marimba, arrangements
*Alex St. Clair Snouffer: guitar, bass, background vocals
*Jerry Handley: bass, background vocals
*John French: drums, background vocals
*Ry Cooder: guitar, slide guitar, bass, arrangements of "Sure 'Nuff 'N Yes I Do" and "Grown So Ugly"
*Milt Holland: log drum, tambourine
*Taj Mahal: tambourine
*Richard Perry: producer, harpsichord


*Bob Krasnow: producer
*Hank Cicalo: engineer
*Gary Marker: engineer

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