Last night The Jack & Jim show, featuring avant maniac guitarist Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black, former Mother of Invention, forever the Indian of the Group, played at the Outpost in Albuquerque. Not only was it a fantastic show, but it was great catching up with an old friend.
I first met Jimmy back in the very early '80s when he was living in New Mexico. (I can't remember whether it was Taos or Albuquerque. He lived in both places back then.) I was introduced by our mutual pal Erik Ness.
During those years I interviewed Jimmy at least three times for The Santa Fe Reporter -- a general profile, a review/profile of his local band, Captain Glasspack & The Magic Mufflers, which used to play Club West, and a story about his recording sessions at Kluget Sound in Cerrillos with The Grandmothers, a band featuring Don Preston, the Fowler Bros. and other ex-Zappa folk.
Jimmy also recorded on my album in the summer of 1981. That's him drumming on "The Green Weenie" on Picnic Time For Potatoheads.
Jimmy left New Mexico for Austin, where he teamed up for awhile with Arthur Brown (as in The Crazy World of). Brown and Black made music and painted houses.
Eventually Jimmy ended up in Germany, where he still lives today. About seven or eight years ago he came to Santa Fe to play The Paramount with his German blues band Farrell & Black. My group The Charred Remains opened for them. That's the last time I'd seen him until Saturday.
Jimmy's 69 years old now. And he's suffering from leukemia. "It's a mild form of leukemia," he said matter-of-factly. I didn't know there was such a thing. But he looks good. He still knows his way around a drum set. And he's still got his signature growl of a singing voice.
It was a wonderful show. Jimmy was happy because his children and grandchildren drove up from El Paso for the concert.
I'd never seen Chadbourne before. He's even better live than on his albums. He looks like a mad scientist and plays like one too. Dr. Chadbourne and Jimmy did a few Zappa and Beefheart songs (you haven't lived until you've heard "Willie the Pimp" and "The Dust Blows Forward and the Dust Blows Back" done on banjo), mutated blues, country (from Haggard to Kinky to Ernest Tubb), a DMX song about robbing a liquor store ("One More Road to Cross") done bluegrass style, a bizarre novelty tune called "Mr. Spooky," classic rock tunes such as "The Shape of Things to Come" and some original Chadbourne political commentary on songs like "Cheney's Hunting Ducks" and a wicked bosa nova nova parody, "The Girl From Al-Qaeda."
I was very happy to find that those Cerrillos Grandmothers sessions, which never saw the light of day on an American release, finally made it to CD. Jimmy put it together with some live tracks on a 2002 CD called The Eternal Question. A couple of those tunes -- the title song (originally titled "What Was Zappa Really Like?" and "The Cutester Patrol" -- have been in my head for 25 years. Pretty soon you can hear them on Terrell's Sound World.
I see by their schedule that The Jack & Jim Show rolls on to Minneapolis tonight and Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska after that.
Hope Captain Glasspack doesn't stay away so long next time.
Check out my snapshots of the show. CLICK HERE.