It was a year ago today (well, okay, a year and a month less two days)…
Born in El Paso, Texas, of Cheyenne heritage, Jimmy Carl Black‘s trademark line, “Hi Boys and Girls, I’m Jimmy Carl Black, and I’m the Indian of the group” followed him throughout his music career. On several Mothers albums he was credited as playing “drums, vocals, and poverty”. The last credit, “poverty” seemed to follow Black’s career as it did many bluesmen of his day like a curse.
Jimmy recorded sparingly on small record labels, and when he did play (in an era of Superstar acts filling arenas), he made his living as a working musician, night in, and night out in the Texas bars with which he was so familiar – especially after the breakup of the original Mothers, and the short lived band he named after his son, Geronimo Black (after it’s breakup he took a job making donuts to feed his young family).
Still, music was never very far away from Black. When he moved to Austin, TX, meeting English singer Arthur Brown and forming the painting company “Gentlemen of Color“, the duo also recorded an album of classic R&B songs, ‘Black, Brown and Blue‘, and performed together.
Certainly, Jimmy never achieved the riches Zappa had once so eagerly promised if he performed Zappa‘s music, and not even the same modicum of fame as Zappa had acquired – yet one thing is for sure, Jimmy was much, much, bigger than life and one of the greatest bluesmen of his time. His recordings available from Inkanish Records certainly attest to this.
In the following two video clips, Jimmy Carl Black performs “The Indian of the Group” with the Muffin Men, Live at the Cavern 2002 [which also appears on JCB’s Where’s the $%&#@ Beer?] and “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” with Sandro Oliva live in Roma 2007 at Teatro Ambra Jovinelli – celebrating 40 Years in the Music Business:
Note: This Xmas, in honor of Jimmy, make sure you finish all your beer.