MUFFIN MEN england
featuring JIMMY CARL BLACK
usa 1998 ceedee MUFFINZ muffin records cd 056
this 'frank zappa tribute band since 1990' is a changing mix of liverpool based musicians who still would have been playing that dull stuff only if halfway this decade they hadn't been seeking for a singer. for they made acquaintance with JIMMY CARL BLACK, the former drummer of the mothers of invention, ánd captain beefheart and the magic band - for two months in 1975. indian ink - as his nickname was - already had been involved in a van vliet cover with 'the grandmothers' and of course in the 'chadbourne & black' tour which resulted in the album 'locked in a dutch coffeeshop' (three covers) and the very special tribute ceedee pachuco cadaver, so it was no wonder he brought some beefheart into the shows...
it began with a 15 minutes 'beefheart-medley' with unknown content at the end 1995 / early 1996 tour. when the muffin men continued their gigs in 1997, after jimmy had done another cover as part of 'farrell & black', they started performing PLASTIC FACTORY from 'safe as milk' - the song that has been released on their latest ceedee. this studio version from january 1998 with addition of dirty sax (over)dubs and a zappa-esque guitar solo is - just like they're used to do - rather a nice own arrangement than a plain re-play. that also explains why it is two times longer and more relaxed than the original.
when you don't come across the album - which is brought out by muffin records, but that name is a coincidence (and the firm closed down in april 1999 - t.t. 290200) - you can always order through the muffin men's internet shop or contact ulli schäfer, kärtnerstrasse 43, 48145 münster, germany, tel/fax + (49) 251 231 587 for a copy.
it even looks as if there's more to come. reports from zappa fans about their latest tour already made clear the tribute band is changing its musical direction towards captain beefheart ('the real thing when it comes to avant garde' as jimmy believes). but those one-dimensional sons of a fly's leg couldn't provide further information - so i needed a spy with knowledge on the subject to confirm that the muffin men [please, use german edition for best information] are slowly extending their don van vliet repertoire. his report: beside the mentioned cover version - which is best worked out - they are playing two more songs from 'safe as milk' during a 'beefheart tribute': SURE 'NUFF 'N' YES I DO and DROPOUT BOOGIE (this last one with a wild-blown saxophone - got it?).
okay, the group makes the mistake to think that the howlin' wolf original 'evil' which the captain once performed (eepee 'avalon ballroom '66') also was composed by 'the indian of the mojave desert' but they're really learning fast. and who knows what they'll present us when they've come to listen to the later works of captain beefheart and the magic band...
[240199 - many thanks to marco duits for stealing softly thru the show]
germany 1999 mixed mode ceedee GOD SHAVE THE QUEEN efa 03447-2
and indeed, on the annual tour in late 1999 they offered the live recordings they made in november '98 in germany on a ceedee extended with an archive of additional rom material. it contains the usual main menu of zappa tunes such as 'willie the pimp', and some other compositions like the expected captain beefheart songs SURE 'NUFF 'N' YES I DO and DROPOUT BOOGIE (and howlin' wolf's 'evil'). their interpretations of the 'safe as milk' tracks tend to be 'flattened' to normal rock with zappa-esque guitar work, but sure are very nice. and the vocals are by jimmy carl black of course...
like their previous albums this latest product can be ordered at the specialised retailers, as well as directly at the muffin men's internet shop or, in case something goes wrong, by contacting ulli schäfer, kärtnerstrasse 43, 48145 münster, germany, tel/fax + (49) 251 231 587.
england 2003 ceedee LIVE @ THE CAVERN [label unknown] cd 13-01 limited edition
in 2003 the band celebrated its thirteenth anniversary with some special releases, one of which is a live performance from may 2002 at the famous cavern club in their town of birth, liverpool. captain beefheart's PLASTIC FACTORY is one of their usual side-steps during their concerts and the live version on this ceedee basically doesn't differ much from the studio version they previously brought out on the 'muffinz' album. which means the vocals are by jimmy carl black, it has additional saxophone sounds and a zappa-inspired guitar solo.
if you can't obtain this plate from one of your record dealers, i suppose it can be ordered at the site and address given along the earlier releases (although it doesn't get mentioned there at the moment). if not, you can try to e-buy it at the english muffin men website which meanwhile has been created, or the sole uk representation: flick productions * p.o. box 888 * penzance * tr20 8zp england * email firstname.lastname@example.org.
click clack back to other covers or return to the power station
captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo