Grow Fins Vol. 1 (Early Demos & Live) - 1966-68
Even the Captain had to start somewhere, and not surprisingly, his "somewhere" was pretty out there for most folks. Rounding up tracks and traces from the early days of the Magic Band, Grow Fins Vol. 1 (the vinyl-only compilation of the Just Got Back From the City and Electricity discs in the fantastic Grow Fins box set) is a fine collection of demos that would pre-date the Safe as Milk LP, a full-length television performance from 1968 and a smattering of demos and live versions. Through its many incarnations, the Magic Band in turn, had many primes. With slide virtuoso Ry Cooder as a full on member of the band on many of these cuts, and Van Vliet searching for and ultimately finding his voice over the course of this set, this compilation is undoubtedly one of them. Highlights here are numerous, but my favorites include the 1967 demo of "Sure Nuff n Yes I Do" and "Electricity", presented here in two extraordinary live incarnations. As they say, if you got ears, you gotta listen.