Soon after Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black started collaborating in 1991, they began billing their act as the Jack and Jim Show. The name was derived from the title of a portrait of Jimmy standing next to a jackrabbit which was painted by Captain Beefheart after the drummer sat in with the Magic Band. Over a span of 16 years, Chadbourne & Black engaged in periodic bouts of transcontinental and international touring, leaving in their wake a pleasantly bewildering trail of creatively packaged, usually homemade CDs. These continued to appear after James Carl Inkanish Black succumbed to leukemia in November 2008. In a statement posted during the final months of his life, Jimmy specifically named Hearing Is Believing as one of the very best entries in the steadily increasing catalog of Jack and Jim recordings. It appears to have been cobbled together with material culled from studio sessions conducted in Germany and a live engagement in Slovenia. In keeping with Dr. Chadbourne's anarchically self-actuated methodology, the album has appeared in two distinct editions. The version released on Boxholder in 2007 omits several Zappa and Beefheart tunes found on an identically titled, lengthier release. On this album, Chadbourne and Black are joined by Pat Thomas who plays keyboards and "cheap electronics", and a percussive multi-instrumentalist identified only as Schroeder, who also employs electronic devices and effects. Intriguingly, Thomas identifies himself as Black Paddy. Anyone familiar with early 20th century African-American music will recognize an apparent reference to Mayo Williams' short-lived Black Patti record label, for which cornetist Willie Hightower recorded a few sides with pianist Richard M. Jones in 1927. The playlist on the Boxholder edition of Hearing Is Believing is typical of Chadbourne and the Jack and Jim Show, as the patchwork of songs by Lennon/McCartney, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, and Marvin Gaye also includes country & western jukebox favorites "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" (a paean to alcohol consumption popularized by Jimmy Buffett) and "When the Grass Grows Over Me," a surly number closely associated with George Jones. Contrasts are evidenced in high relief as the gentle "Misty Roses" by Oregon folk singer Tim Hardin is presented in the same menu as "Cheney's Hunting Ducks" (inspired by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who pumped lead into a lawyer in February 2006 during a Texan quail hunt), and a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Girl from Ipanema," here rambunctiously retitled "Girl from Al-Qaeda."
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