Please forgive me, dear readers, for missing my appointment with you in these pages last month, but your correspondent had the pleasure of traveling north to Detroit and Chicago to promote my Full Moon Night album and drum up some interest in the White Buffalo Day festivities scheduled for the Superdome on Sunday, August 27th.
I had the. wonderful opportunity of working with a lot of old pals from the Motor City while I was there, and I’d like to send up a warm New Orleans “thanks, y’all” to everybody who helped back me up in Detroit and Ann Arbor-and most especially to my poetry and guitar-playing partner, Mick Vranich, who’ll be in New Orleans to perform at the White Buffalo Day festival August 27th and the Cutting Edge Spoken Word Showcase at Kaldi’s Coffeehouse on Thursday, August 31st (with Richard Hell and John Sinclair & His Blues Scholars). Mick has two fine poetry records out on the New Alliance label: Idols of Fear and Cloak of Skin.
On August 27,1994, a sacred circle of brotherhood and peace between the Mardi Gras Indian tribes of New Orleans and unity-minded members of various Native American nations was performed in Congo Square by Lakota pipe-carrier Kam Night Chase. For the first time, following a century of prayers, the Black Indians of New Orleans and the Red Indians of America had come together in mutual respect and honor.
WHITE BUFFALO FESTIVITIES: The ceremony was performed amid controversy and outright opposition, and the participants waited for a medicine sign to validate their stance on brotherhood between the Black and Red Nations. Three days after the ceremony, the world was given its first video of the White Buffalo Calf, Little Miracle, born in Janesville, Wisconsin on August 20, 1994. The Lakota ceremony had received the most powerful of Lakota medicine signs.
These events will be memorialized this August 27th at the International Unity Festival and Gathering of the Tribes at the Superdome, organized by Goat Carson and Sharon Marie Ashe of the White Buffalo Day Foundation. See Jonathan Tabak’s feature story (p. 48) for complete details, and by all means, please plan to be on hand for this fantastic celebration.
One last note: after performing With Mick Vranich and Mark Turcotte at the Heartland Cafe and Weeds Tavern in Chicago to complete our White Buffalo Day Caravan tour, my wife Penny and I traveled a little further west to Janesville, Wisconsin to visit Little Miracle and deliver the New Orleans City Council resolution recognizing August 27th as White Buffalo Day to the calf’s keepers, David & Valerie Heider, who informed us that more than 57,000 persons had visited their farm to see the white buffalo calf during the past ten months.
Our arrival on June 21st coincided with the beginning of a three-day Gathering of the Elders from all over the Midwest and Canada at the Heider farm, and we had the privilege of panicipating in a sweat lodge ceremony with medicine persons and representatives of several First Nations peoples, held immediately adjacent to the buffalo corral where Little Miracle is quartered. This was an amazing experience for both of us, and it was an incredible honor to be there as emissaries of the White Buffalo Day Foundation and the City Council of New Orleans. As Goat Carson puts it, get ready for all-out peace at the Superdome August 27th!
NEW DISCS: A pair of important New Orleans rhythm &: blues CDs have recently seen release: Eddie Bo & Friends, including Earl King, Big Chief Bo Dollis of the Wild Magnolias, Johnny Adams, and BeBe Price, produced by Eddie Bo and issued locally by Eboville (soon to be picked up for international distribution by Peter Nobel’s AIM Records of Australia and New Orleans); and Let Them Talk, the national recording debut of pianist vocalist Davell Crawford, produced by Scott Billington for Rounder Records.
Eddie Bo hits with great songs like “Old Fashioned Sookie,” “A Shoot From The Root,” and “Kick It On Back,” plus “Every Dog’s Got A Day” (sometimes known as “Hard Times”) and “Bring It On Home,” both featuring Johnny Adams and Bo Dollis. “Dance, Dance, Dance” adds Earl King to the crew.
Davell Crawford combines fervent gospel numbers (“Walk Around Heaven” features lead vocals by Davell’s granddaddy, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford) with rollicking piano workouts (“Gumbo Piano,” “Keep It Rollin!”), R&B chestnuts (Chris Kenner’s “Something You Got,” The Clovers’ “Lovey Dovey”), and a handful of Sugar Boy gems from the ’50s: “I Bowed On My Knees,” “She’s Got A Wobble When She Walks,” “No More Heartaches,” and the extremely soulful “You Gave Me Love.” The title track goes a little ways over the edge, but 19-year-old Davell otherwise acquits himself quite admirably on his first full-scale recording. Give it a listen.
CORRECTION: Deadline pressures on my last outing here in June led to some little confusement concerning the Chess New Orleans two-disc package of Crescent City rhythm & blues singles and other previously unissued Chess, Checker, and Argo cuts circa 1953-1965. Chess producer Andy McKaie-recent recipient of reissue-producer- of-the-year honors from Living Blues magazine-has been kind enough to point out that the Charles “Hungry” Williams information was somewhat mangled in my transmission. Hungry’s great single “So Glad She’s Mine” has been unavailable since its 78 rpm issue as Checker 831, and his “What Can I Do,” unissued as a single, was on the Chess LP The Best of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues. Both are included in Chess New Orleans,but this writer will continue to pray for the ultimate release of the other two Hungry Williams sides once available on The Best of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues- “Rhythmatic Rhythm” and “I Cried All The Way Home”-and any other Hungrys they might have in the vaults.
Mr. McKaie also points out that most of the Paul Gayten cuts included in the set are no longer available on the Gayten CD Chess King of New Orleans nor on the collection titled Wrinkles, both now out of print. He adds: “One thing I’ve tried to do with Chess Blues, Chess Rhythm & Roll, and Chess New Orleans is re-issue key tracks from such deleted packages. As far as more goes, even if Chess New Orleans doesn’t do too well, I will try to find room for more of the various tracks left off the new package on different future releases. I always do.” Truer words, dear friends, have never been spoken. • John Sinclair can be heard every week on the ~New Orleans Music Show. (Wednesdays, 11am-2pm) and “Blues & Roots” (Saturday nights, 2-5am) on WWOZ-90.7 FM. Sinclair’s first CD, Full Moon Night,featuring his Blues Scholars, is out now on Total Energy Records.
Worthy CDs to add to your blues library this month include titles from the Capitol Blues Collection (which spotlights sterling re-issues and unreleased material from Big Joe Williams, Son House, and Lil’ Son Jackson; a complete Snooks Eaglin Imperial Recordings reissue is also in the works from Capitol); juke-joint shouter Smokey Wilson’s aptly titled smoker The Real Deal on Bullseye Blues;crooner Floyd McDaniel’s jumpin’ and jaizy Let Your Hair Down on Delmark (unfortunately, the 80-year-old McDaniel passed away in late July); and, best of all, Cornell Dupree’s Bop n’ Blues on Kokopelli Records.Dupree, who was the pre-eminent soul session guitarist in the ’60s and also original lead gun in the “Saturday Night Live”house band, is a completely unclassifiable talent whose fretwork sparks comparisons to the late great Danny Gatton. Dupree can play any note or solo in all genres with rare god-given talent, and Bop n’ Blues finds him tackling everything from slippery New Orleans second-lines to Ellington blues and Charlie Parker bop. Dupree brings his inestimable bag of guitar tricks to the House of Blues on August 20, in the absolute must-see show of the month.