1969.11 Jamming at the Speakeasy

In late October/early November 1969, a few days after playing at the Amougies Festival in Belgium, Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and Frank Zappa plus Magic Band member Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton) made an appearance at the famous London club The Speakeasy, joining the band Juicy Lucy on stage. They were also joined by Cream drummer Ginger Baker and played a set that included Willie The Pimp.

Juicy Lucy later covered Willie The Pimp on their second album Lie Back and Enjoy It, released in 1970 (the back cover of that album is featured at the bottom of this post).

This live performance has been lost to history but Mark Boston and at least one fan, David Booker, both remember that night.

Here are their recollections of that unique performance at The Speakeasy :

David Booker:

It was the Speakeasy in London, I was there, Juicy Lucy were playing that night and suddenly in walks Beefheart wearing his top hat and duster, also Zappa and Rockette Morton were all there. After the break Ginger Baker and these 3 all got up to jam with the remainder of the band. Chris Mercer on Tenor (Ex Mayall) and Paul Williams (Ex Mayall ) were there, Glen Ross Campbell on Steel. A truly amazing set ! Willie The Pimp was one I remember. Everyone seemed to be into it on stage, a lot of movement from Don. Juicy Lucy had a great steel player Glen Fernando Campbell ? I think his name was, and they all got into it pretty hard.

Mark Boston aka Rockette Morton:

After we recorded Trout Mask Replica they took us to Belgium, there was a big festival out there, and Frank had the Mothers Of Invention, they played a few songs, then we got up, played a few songs and then on the way back home we stopped off in London, England and they took us out one night to this little bar.

It was downstairs, it was a cellar basically, but it was a bar, and it was pretty nice, it had a nice atmosphere, they had a little local band but they invited us up so I got to get up there and jam – the drummer was Ginger Baker from Cream and then Frank played guitar and I think sang, I can’t even remember what we played, I think we played some blues and stuff, and then of course I played bass, and then Don sang and played the harmonica and that was a cool jam session.

I’ll never forget that, that was fun and Ginger Baker he was a really nice fella, he was kinda wacky, a good drummer though. And so, that’s one of the things I’ll always remember, not every day was like that y’know.

Ginger Baker’s daughter is the admin of the Facebook page about her father and she told me that she never knew this had happened but would be putting the story in her next book! She commented on the post:

“ok .. well many many thanks .. I can include this in my latest book !!”

Sam Smyth

(originally posted on the Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/captainbeefheartandthemagicband/posts/602811924548082)
Reproduced with permission.



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