Given the timing of his career, would he have been huge? At times the Captain and the Magic Band sounded like the Stones if they’d had Howling Wolf on vocals.
He could have been moderately successful. The Magic Band was signed as a blues band, but the Captain had different ideas about where his musical career should go.
He would have been Howlin Wolf. What would be the point?
He did some straight blues, Frying Pan is pretty awesome. But as is noted above, it sounds a lot like Howlin’ Wolf.
He probably wouldn’t be the legend he is if he stuck to straight blues, though.
He would have made a living at it, and probably would be remembered as a top blues musician. He also probably would have been more successful.
But it would have been unlikely he would be so critically revered. There are plenty of great blues musicians, but only one Captain Beefheart.