Indian Jack – “The World of Indian Jack & Friends”

The Sleeve:
105_4896 105_4897

The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
John Charles Visser (Indian Jack) was born in the foothills ranching country of Calgary, Alberta on August 14th, 1929. (of Holland – Dutch, Scottish and Irish origin). Jack has lived in Calgary most of his life. He completed his high school education in 1948 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1956. The following year, Visser received his Bachelor of Law Degree and articled with a major Calgary law firm. In 1958 he was admitted to the Alberta Bar and became a practising lawyer and a member of the Law Society of Alberta. Although no longer on the lawyers active practising list, Visser still remains a member of the Law Society.
 During his high school vacation, Jack was employed as a ‘roughneck’ on ‘wild-cat’ oil drilling rigs. He continued ‘roughnecking’ during his tenure in university as well as a 3½ year Sabbatical prior to the completion of his education. His father, Charlie Visser (known widely as ‘the Dutchman’) was the drilling superintendant at that time working for Imperial Oil Ltd. (a largely owned Canadian subsidiary of the Exxon Corporation). This further contributed to Jack’s interest in the oil business. There were also jobs on farms and ranches during these summers.
 While travelling widely in western Canada, the Yukon and Alaska during Jack’s student years, he came in contact with native Indians of many different bands, tribes and nations. He studied the Blackfoot language in particular, and this caused Jack to still maintain a great deal of interest in, and liking for all Indians and Metis. From his early years in the oil fields, Visser still retains a strong interest in oil-well drilling and ‘roughnecking’.
 During Jack’s legal career, he mainly practised company, commercial and real estate law. He was employed by a couple of major Alberta corporations, (one was a trust company with present day national Canadian implications, the other was a multinational manufacturing company). There was also 4 years spent in private practise.
 Jack formally studied the Blackfoot language in university night school classes, but he is more prone to get actual experience in conversations and associations with native people in bars and taverns throughout southern Alberta. Thus he knows that ‘ke-ge-kaw-go-mim’ means ‘I love you’, and that ‘ne-gee-ta-be-ah-ke’ is ‘Indian woman’. Jack is genuinely hopeful of one day taking an Indian woman for his wife, but at 55 years of age he now wonders if he can find a ‘ne-gee-ta-be-ah-ke’ to whom he is acceptable. He has had a few good Indian girlfriends in bygone years.
 A few notes about the songs on this album: the Blackfoot word ‘moo-hg-kin-stiss’ is used in the song ‘The Ballad of Indian Jack’ means Calgary, while the word ‘oom-hg-goo-yish’ is Edmonton. ‘Ah-be-sto-de-ke’ is ‘the great creator, Lord God Almighty’. The word ‘napi-go-wex’ (pronounced napi-kwex) is the generic term for ‘white people. The reference to ‘sandhills’ is the place to which the Blackfoot warriors and braves go when they die. The reference to ‘messenger’ is to an emissary of stature who has been killed by an Indian warrior who arrives in ‘heaven’ before the killer to tell tales of the warrior’s heroics, acumen and prowess.
 The songs on this album are written by John C. (‘Indian Jack’) Visser. All the songs are published by ‘Indian Jack Enterprises Ltd.’ (CAPAC)

Personal Review:
 So, Indian Jack… It’s Canadian.

 The first song is “The Ballad of Indian Jack” – which I gotta admit, is like the most politically incorrect song I have ever heard. Referring the Natives as “Indians” and White people as “Whitey”. The song itself is kind of cool, Indian Jack’s voice is kind of nice to hear, but I’m not too fond of the song, it’s kind of like a sing song of a story. A very politically incorrect song. Then again, I find a lot of Canadian 80’s Country on private labels are politically incorrect, don’t believe me? Check this. Oh, and hey, Indian Jack is going around scalping people in the song, and “all the Napi go to hell” (the songs words, not mine.). Next up is “Two Great Chiefs” – and hey, this song is about Native’s too. Oh, and in this song Louis Riel rides a moose. This song is alright, Jack has a good voice, it’s the type of voice you’d hear singing western songs in a Disney movie. Oh look, a song about Louis Riel… can you guess the title? “Louis Riel” is what I am hearing, and Jack is singing about railroads! Basically the song documents the life of Louis Riel. Next up is “Alberta, Oh Alberta” – which is a six and a half minute song about Alberta. Okay. It’s good, sung well. Jack can sing.

 So, the B-Side opens with “Equestrienne Linda” and I’m pretty sure that means she is a horse. It continues with that amazing guitar playing, and the musicianship on this record has always impressed me. The vocals are pretty good too. So it was a good song, after that comes the song “Ballad of Emperor Pick” which is a 7 minute song, oh, and each song tells some different historical story. I don’t know why, I burst out laughing at “Alberta Provincial Police” not sure why, just did. It seems to be hilarious. Anyways, the song is a bootlegging and prohibition. Turns out, the song is about a true story. It’s actually a good song. Then comes “Cowgirl Sharon” and it’s a good song, I do like this album for the fact it tells historical stories. After that comes “The Roughnecks of the Oilfields” and most of the songs on this album have to do with Alberta and/or Saskatchewan. The musicianship keeps up with the amazingness. The album ends with “High Flying Rosemary” and it’s about a woman who works on the radio, or in a news helicopter or something, all I know is the woman is on the radio.

Interesting Facts:
None… but that is a huge horse.

Track Listing:
A1 – The Ballad of Indian Jack
A2 – Two Great Chiefs
A3 – Louis Riel
A4 – Alberta, Oh Alberta

B1 – Equestrienne Linda
B2 – Ballad of Emperor Pick
B3 – Cowgirl Sharon
B4 – The Roughnecks of the Oilfields
B5 – High Flying Rosemary

Cassandra Records

Catalog Number:
CRA 5003LP

Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Published by ‘Indian Jack Enterprises LTD.’
Recorded at Writers Workshop Studio, Calgary, Alberta
Produced by Peter D’Amico

Other Albums I Own by Indian Jack:



  • Jim says:

    I knew Jack well, stayed at his house for awhile, and his son Tom was my best friend. One of the wildest characters that ever lived. IQ off the charts. Manic-depressive, paranoid-schizophrenic. Unfortunately alcohol played a major role in his life. He thought of it as medicine, to help slow his brain down.

    The vocals on this record were sung/spoken by Peter D’Amico. He played all the instruments as well. Jack was hard of hearing, and, consequently, his singing was usually somewhere between screaming and yelling.

    “Equestrienne Linda” is his niece. The family is very wealthy (though Jack was not), and own an equestrian facility, and she’s a rider. Not surprising they should have a very nice horse.

  • Kenneth Edgar Mac Donald says:

    I knew jack well. A good man. A brilliant man. A lawyer. Prone to invective. Underrated and never achieved his full potential. Alcohol his nemesis. Estranged by his sister Margaret Southern . Named Indian Jack. He lived up to his name. He tried hard . I miss him. He was one of kind. A legend . His family , the Southerns , up scale as they purport to be ,probably are glad to be rid of Jack . R.I.P.

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