Sunday, August 13, 2017

Classic album still carries a heavy message

Sometimes buying on instinct can be hazardous, but I have never regretted the purchase of J.D. Blackfoot's The Song of Crazy Horse.

Having played the LP again recently I did a Google search to see what he was doing these days and came across this clip of him playing an acoustic version of part of his classic album in 1997.

By way of background, J.D. Blackfoot, an American was living in New Zealand and recorded his classic album in this country and it won the RATA (Record Arts Talent Award) Album of the Year award in 1974.

Having always had an interest, and an empathy, with the plight of the Native American peoples, and having just read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown, I was naturally drawn to this album on display in the window of the DIC in Invercargill's arcade linking Esk Street with Tay Street. It had a gray
cover with a drawing of a bison on it. And while earning a reporter's pittance, some things never change, I had to have it and bought it on spec.

It is probably the most satisfying music purchase I ever made. I still have the vinyl album, songbook and poster that came with the original edition. The presentation, music wise, transcends time but not as much as the message does.

It is a powerful story that highlights the United States at its worst, and we live through yet another example of how amazing it can be that a country so powerful, with so much going for it in all manner of ways, can be so misguided in the care and love of its people. As Blackfoot said in the preamble to the piece in this clip:

"I found a book the other day so I looked up Red and White to see what it'd say.

"One was a Savage, the other unlearned, like a look in a mirror the tables were turned for history has named you.....Savage!"

The US could do with someone sharing the sentiments of J.D. Blackfoot and Crazy Horse nowadays. As was noted on the back of the songbook accompanying The Song of Crazy Horse,

 "Crazy Horse was supposed to have said, 'One does not sell the Earth upon which the people walk'.

"If that line truly came from his lips, in my opinion, he was one of the heaviest men to ever set foot upon Mother Earth."

It's nice to think there's a New Zealand connection with this tremendous recording. All power to The Song of Crazy Horse.

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