Saturday, 8 November 2008

My Favourite Grandmother

This post is dedicated to Jimmy Carl Black.

Unfortunately, the Indian of the Group is no longer with us.
Jimmy Carl Black succumbed to cancer last weekend, aged 70.

Peace Be Upon Him.

Jimmy and the Muffin Men visited
West Wales a couple of years ago, and I got to see them at one of my local venues (I know! And all the way from Texas).

They were superb. And Mickey Jones, the Man Band guitarist, added to the gratification by joining the band for a jam in a most Jonesian/Zappaesque kind of way.

Sometimes it really does pay to live out in the sticks! You just never know what’s going to happen.

I did get to have a chat with Jimmy during the intermission, which was fucking amazing.

He immediately became the Jimmy Carl Black I’d vicariously known for many years, through my avid listening to old Mothers of Invention albums.

I asked him if there was any truth in the story that he had apparently started a painting and decorating firm with Arthur Brown:

'Yeah, man. Well we just weren't gettin' any money together; and shit, ya gotta live ya know. So I'm pretty handy, ya know; and Art can really paint, man, he can really paint. But shit, it's not me, man, so we're back on the road; just tryin' to earn a livin', ya know; doin' what we love, but just tryin’ to earn a livin''.

Or something like that.

This really blew me away.

Not only was I now experiencing bizarre visions of the Indian of the Group and the God of Hell-Fire turning up at someone’s house to do a decorating job, but here he was, straight off the Uncle Meat album (credited for ‘drums, droll humour and poverty’) where he is wonderfully captured in conversation complaining to Zappa about his lack of and need for money, as he’s ‘not living very extravagantly, that’s fa-sure’.

He couldn’t have made my brief moment in his existence any more perfect.


A benefit will be held on 9 November at the Bridgehouse II in London.

To accompany this post, I thought I would share something wonderful; so here is the first Grandmothers’ album from 1981.

It is essentially a collection of ex-Mothers’ solo material; with the occasional Mothers' meeting, resulting in a revisit to their roots by banging-out some excellent white man’s R&B, with JCB at the vocal helm, sounding uncannily like Beefheart.

There’s some really crazy mixed-up stuff on here – mainly recorded in the early seventies, it features free-jazz, hardcore blues (Eliot Ingber’s ‘We Don’t Feed No Livestock Here’ is a wonderful piece of outsider blues; knocks spots off Seasick Steve; more in the vein of the Lonesome Organist if anyone), R&B, hard rock, avant-garde, and general anarchic chaos.

Grandmothers - A Mother of Anthology

1: '59 Chevy
2: Sweet Fifteen
3: Qualude to Chaos and Fine
4: A Bit Blue
5: Motorhead's Bumble Bee
6: Basement Theme Downstairs
7: The eye of Agamoto
8: Trail of Tears
9: One for the Girls
10: We don't Feed No Livestock Here
11: I Can't Breathe
12: The Fight Out

Grandmothers: Jimmy Carl Black: voice, trumpet; Jim Motorhead Sherwood: sax; Bunk Gardner: horns; Buzz Gardner: horns; Don Preston: moog; Denny Walley: guitar; Andy Cahan: drums; Tom Leavy: bass (tracks:1,5,8,12).
Menage a Trois: Bunk & Buzz Gardner, John Balkin (Tracks: 3,6,9).
Raw Milk: Don Preston, Sandy Reiner, Christy Rundquist, Phil Davis (Tracks: 2,7,11).
Eliot Ingber (tracks: 4,10).

I’ve kind of rediscovered this album as a consequence of Jimmy’s passing; and it’s a real joy to listen to.

So Jimmy lives on.
He’ll always be the Indian of the Group.
And as his own website says:
Jimmy says hi to everybody and he doesn't want anybody to be sad.”

Get happy with Jimmy with this cassette rip @256kbs.
You won’t find this album anywhere else; this is now damn rare.
Adopt a Grandmother here


Anonymous said...

I used to have this record and after a couple of years I let it go, thinking that I wouldn't miss it.

How wrong I was... I have so much wanted to hear this again.

Thank you.

roy rocket said...

I'm so glad to have helped you reunite with your Grandmothers. Enjoy.
Shanti, roy

Anonymous said...

yeah it was good to catch the indian of the group here in deepest wales, i remember an excellent concert and now he s gone from these shores on to the great gig in the sky cheers for sharing all the best speak soon dave

Anonymous said...

danke jimmy,mach' gut
kneller aus berlin

unity.gain said...

Thank you so much for this.
Caught these guys at The Point in Cardiff a few months back - they were awesome. I made a half decent recording of it, which I shared via the Zappateers. If you don't already have it, I'll dig you out a copy to put up here,

PS. Sad to hear about The Indian.

sIR bILLY said...

Sad news indeed. I met him in Blackpool in 2003(I think), playing with the Muffin Man, they were excellent. At the bar I asked him why he wasn't playing drums, to this he replied" Hell man, I've given up all that shit". It was Lumpy Gravy in real life, a cracking bloke.. Sad loss.

roy rocket said...

Hey, Dave, man. Nice one!

Danke (I think...).

Roger, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked it, and of course, I have now posted the second album, so hopefully you've been enjoying that as well.
I have visited Zappateers, but I have some problems in the Torrent zone [!]; I' d love to hear your recording. Maybe you'd be into a dropsend...
JCB must have dug Wales, huh?
But it was great to see Mickey Jones playing with the Muffin Men, that made the gig I attended well special!
It was sad to hear of Jimmy's demise; but 70 years of age ain't bad really for a musician emerging in the sixties - I'd be glad to get there... (not that I'm a musician from the sixties, but I'm sure you know what I mean).
Shanti, roy

Hi, Sir Billy. Yes, he was the very embodiment of The Indian of the Group; and he came to life right before our very eyes.
I felt honoured to meet him; and to be quite honest with you, moving to Wales, I really didn't expect it.
Thanks for your comment.
Shanti, roy

Anonymous said...

Here's that recording from The point:

I'm afraid these links expire after 10 downloads (why did Rapidshare start doing this shit?), but feel free to re-post.

Actually JCB wasn't on this tour - maybe he was already too ill at this time - the line up was:
Napoleon Murphy Brock , Don Preston, Roy Estrada , Miroslav Tadic and Christopher Garcia. The date was 03/04/08.
Thanks also for the Misty album - by a strange coincidence I also went to see them, in Bristol a couple of months ago - and yes, I made a recording..!

roy rocket said...

Thanks for the links, Roj.
And if you do ever upload the Misty gig, I'd love to hear what they sound like now.
Cheers, man.
Shanti, roy

roy rocket said...

Link fixed!