Friday, December 13, 2013

The Indian National Anthem: Floyd Red Crow Westerman, 8.17.1936 - 12.13.2007

and I told them if they pollute the sky
man would have to move into the sea
they didn't listen
send the Task Force down from Washington
to check out their complaint
the Indians are unhappy
and they're puttin' on the 'paint
in a world without tomorrow
in a world that cannot last
in a world without tomorrow
my friend, that day is on its way
my friend, that day is comin' fast
for the lie that was spoken
for the blood that we have spilled
for the treaties that were broken
for the leaders you have stilled
where were you when
we needed you, our friend?
where were you when
we needed you to bend?
so now you claim to be
part Sioux or Cherokee
but where were you when
we came close to the end?
goin' back to find my past
and maybe peace of mind at last
leave me alone
can't you see I'm goin' home?
Floyd Red Crow Westerman
Perception recordings, 1969-70

Custer Died for Your Sins (1969)
01 Custer Died for Your Sins
02 Missionaries
03 World Without Tomorrow
04 Goin' Back
05 35 More Miles
06 Red, White and Black
07 Where Were You When
08 Here Come the Anthros
09 They Didn't Listen
10 Task Force
11 B.I.A.

songs based on the writings of Vine Deloria, Jr.

Indian Country (1970)
12 I Still Miss Someone
13 Nobody Knows
14 I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow
15 Me and Bobby McGee
16 Jambalaya
17 San Quentin
18 Folsom Prison Blues
19 Anita, You're Dreaming
20 Busted

an album of classic covers of songs by Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Sr., Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, The Dillards and Ray Charles

Total time: 52:49

 Floyd Red Crow Westerman - voice and guitar, lyrics
John Trivers - bass
Bob Abrahams - lead guitar
Jerry Shook - harp and dobro
Pete Drake - pedal steel guitar
Barry Lazarwitz - drums
Jimmy Curtiss - guitar, backing vocals, lyrics

vinyl transfers from original Perception LPs by EN
Kanghi Duta (Lakota Sioux for Red Crow) left us 6 years ago today, and it seems the world has only gotten more fucked up and dystopic since. Coincidence? Listen to these exceedingly rare LPs on Perception, from the Golden Age of the American Indian Movement, and decide for yourself. Suffice to say that no one rivals the résumé of this man, from commanding the silver screen in mega motion pictures (Dances with Wolves, The Doors) to star turns on television (he is the central figure in what many consider the greatest episodes of The X-Files), to his main work as an activist for Native American rights, environmental sanity and oh yeah... did I mention the music? These records are among my favorite recordings by anyone, and I have 16 TB of music so that's not something I say frivolously. The idea that these may never be reissued -- Floyd had to rerecord the first one in 1982 just to get the publishing rights back, making him one of the first artists to attempt this now-common copyright-retrieval process -- makes me just shake my head in terminal disgust, but at least we have these vinyl transfers I did, from near-mint LPs, back about 10 years ago. 
There is no human being more influential on me than Red Crow, it's that simple. These long-out-of-print records are a big piece of why, and if you don't get them immediately you're just willfully missing out. --J.