TRIBUTE ALBUMS mostly suck, perhaps it’s appropriate that the music world’s most unlikely and reluctant icon should be given the “treatment” by one of our most inscrutable and willing iconoclasts. Joined by ex-Mothers Of Invention drummer Black, Chadbourne gets into a free-spirited and free-form state of mind we acolytes call “Beefheartian.”
The duo nails it from the git-go with a sneaky update of “Buggy Boogie Woogie,” Chadbourne picking through a mutant jazzrock extrapolation and Black thrumming happily along. A country-blues “Willie The Pimp” and a bottle-neckin’ “Sure ‘Nuff ‘N’ Yes, I Do” follow. Then it’s time for the Trout Mask Replica portion of the program, and since the original album resembled chaos to many upon its release, so too might this endurance test. Hey mamas and dadas: Nobody said it was gonna be easy!
– Fred Mills