The second album from the "Jack and Jim Show" (i.e. Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black) is a tribute to Captain Beefheart. Pachuco Cadaver was released in 1995 on Fire Ant and reissued five years later on Chadbourne's home label, House of Chadula (with an interesting booklet made of drawings and anecdotes). Most of this material was recorded live, most of it was left untampered. What it actually means is that the good Doctor couldn't refrain himself from altering a few things here and there, like adding a speed-up/bust-down effect in "Clear Spot."
The 11-minute "Veteran's Day Poppy" begins on stage but quickly moves somewhere else as other recordings are added (like an uncredited saxophone part). The duo is joined by Leslie Ross (bassoon), Ashwin Batish (sitar), Chris Turner (harmonica), and Brian Ritchie (didjeridoo) on "I'm Goona Booglarize You Baby" (they also appeared in the Beefheart medley found on Locked in a Dutch Coffeeshop). Rik Rue (tapes), Pablo De Rosa (flute), Ricardo Shields (guitar), and daughter Molly Chadbourne are featured in the title track. But the best songs remain the duet-only, untouched songs early in the set, especially those sung by Black, a convincing interpreter of Don Van Vliet's lyrics. "Sure 'Nuff an' Yes I Do" and "Willie the Pimp" (a Frank Zappa song immortalized by Beefheart) are great zany performances. Well produced (on a Chadbourne scale), focused, and engaging, Pachuco Cadaver should surprise any fan of the Captain. ~ François Couture, Rovi
Chadbourne and Black do an outstanding job of capturing the humor of the Captain Beefheart catalouge. They treat his songs with jocular admiration, playing them as loose open-mic-night jams one minute (talking back and forth to each other during the tunes), and turning them into full-fledged freakouts the next (see "Veteran's Day Poppy"). Given the present time's easy availability of Beefheart's records, it's difficult at first to see why this collection was put together (except that these are great songs). However, in 1995, all the recent reissues had not been released, and the Captain's legacy might have seemed in jeopardy. Black and Chadbourne do highly accurate impersonations of the Captain's gravelly voice and turn his carefully orchestrated pieces into free form madness at times, but the respect for the music is never in question. In fact, it's refreshing to hear someone else attempt Beefheart songs. Listening to the originals gives the impression that they'd be difficult to pull off, but Black and Chadbourne make it seem effortless. (amazon)