Like him, hate him, despise him, abhor him – the one thing you cannot do with Ben Watson is ignore him. No matter what your position is when it comes to Frank Zappa – Ben Watson’s thought provoking, sometimes shocking, sometimes scurrilous perspectives are always bound to generate volatile responses among Zappa fans, especially hardcore Zappa fans (are there really any other kind? Ever heard of a casual Zappa fan?). (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘jimmy carl black’
The first version of The Grandmothers came into being in 1980, formed by original Mothers of Invention and Soul Giants alumni Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner. From almost the start, the group was a thorn in Zappa‘s side (who’d probably thought he’d seen the last of his former bandmates when he forced them into the cold when he disbanded the original Mothers in 1970) when Zappa himself became the target of the new band’s on-stage satire and was apparently particularly upset over a dummy of himself that was being used in various provocative ways. Thus began a pattern of the Zappa family and its legal minions fighting with various members of the Grandmothers over the right to perform and record original Mothers of Invention compositions. At one point in the early ’90s, the Zappa estate quashed a new recording deal for the Grandmothers with a major label that was unfortunately not interested in working with the band unless it was allowed to use the name of the Mothers of Invention.
Anyone who has followed my posts knows that I’m a avid downloader of torrents from Zappateers (and a fantastic bunch of freaks they are – I tip my hat to them for all the excellent Zappa torrents I’ve downloaded through the years). That said, I am also an avid collector of many exceptional Zappa tribute bands (far too numerous to name here, though). Periodically, though, I come across a particular group of musicians that I feel I just have to share. For that purpose, I’ve begun an irregular series entitled, “Tunes, Treats & Torrents” to highlight these groups and their exceptional covers of Zappa compositions.
The first of those bands in this series are The Muffin Men, an incredible group of musicians from Liverpool, UK. When I recently downloaded a torrent of an excerpt of their Kirchheim Tech, Germany show on April 24th, 1993 featuring guests Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, and Jimmy Carl Black I knew I had to share it (especially since live recordings of Bunk Gardner are so incredibly rare anyway). Give these covers a listen and decide what you think:
King Kong – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
Don Whanks It Out – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
Son of Mr Green Genes – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
Willie the Pimp – The Muffin Men (Kirchheim Teck, Germany, 24 Apr 1993)
The Muffin Men (circa Spring/Summer 1993):
Download torrent from Zappateers here.
In 2008, The Muffin Men – a British band, based in Liverpool, England which primarily plays the music of Frank Zappa – performed at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, performing such Zappa classics as “Zoot Allures”, “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” and “Black Napkins” (above) as well as “Road Ladies“, “San Ber’dino“, and “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama“.
Since Jimmy Carl Black‘s passing, I have had the great opportunity to listen to much of the man’s post-Mothers of Invention recordings. Agree with me or not, JCB was a very unique musician in his own right. Many of his talents, I fear, were unfairly overlooked by a Frank Zappa wishing to distance himself from the original Mothers. Whether they are blues standards, or eclectic cover versions of Mothers of Invention or Zappa songs, JCB stamped them with his own unique identity. Along the way, he played with some of the greatest musicians you’ve probably never heard of (yet should). Now’s your chance (for at least a taste).
Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black – the principle members of the Jack and Jim Show – perform a cover of Captain Beefheart‘s “Dropout Boogie” (first clip, below) at The Pit Inn, Shinjuku on June 6th, 2008 (available on their CD, Pachuco Cadaver), and a cover of the song, “One More Road To Cross” (second clip, below) from their 2007 DVD, The Jack & Jim Show: Live at the Stone, NYC.
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.
After stumbling across this 1993 promo video of Frank Zappa’s “Willie the Pimp” featuring Jimmy Carl Black and The Muffin Men (live with studio footage), I found the following Podcast on The Muffin Men homepage. The band reminisces about Jimmy’s last tour (gigs he had to cancel due to increasing ill health), his friends attempts to help (including old friend Arthur Brown), and the benefit gigs. The podcast also includes an extended live version of Jimmy Carl Black‘s “Great White Buffalo”.
Click here to listen to horn and guitar solos from “Great White Buffalo” recorded in Aschaffenburg entitled, “Aschbuff”.