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Zharth's Music Log

Week 17: Native America

Preface: This week we're switching over into Thanksgiving mode. Summer's behind us now and the autumn is holding fast. The days are getting shorter as we approach the winter solstice. The cold is setting in. Thanksgiving is a time to remember the founding of modern America, and the transformation the continent underwent at the hands of European settlers. And it is a time to mourn what was lost to the natives. For the greatest of nations are founded on imperialism and the genocide of native culture and lives. Creation and destruction are one and the same. Remember this, as you give thanks this month, to what you have, and what you had to lose to acquire it.

Monday (11/12/07): Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song (Live) [Led Zeppelin DVD, recorded 1972]
Comments: By now, everyone knows that Columbus wasn't the first to "discover" America. The Vikings, at the helm of one Leif Erikson, it is believed, set foot on North American soil some 500 years before Columbus' voyage. Also related to today's song... modern America has had a long history of immigration, acting as a haven of freedom for exiles from countries across the globe.

Tuesday (11/13/07): Bloomfield/Harris - I Am A Pilgrim [Bloomfield/Harris, 1979]
Comments: The difference between the Vikings and the Pilgrims is that the Pilgrims actually stuck around to colonize the "new" continent. That's not the only difference between them, though... Concerning the song, virtuoso blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield collaborated with classical acoustic guitarist Woody Harris on a set of mostly acoustic gospel-flavored instrumentals, towards the unfortunately premature end of Bloomfield's life.

Wednesday (11/14/07): The Doors - Indian Summer [Morrison Hotel, 1970]
Comments: As the story goes, Columbus thought he had reached India, rather than stumbling upon an unfamiliar between-continent, so he named the natives of America "Indians", and what do you know, the name stuck. Boy, wouldn't that be embarrassing for Columbus if he was still around?

Thursday (11/15/07): Neil Young & Crazy Horse - All Along The Watchtower [recorded live 2004]
Comments: Once colonization began, eventually leading to political independence, the new America had only to push out the native Americans and use up all their resources without respect for the natural flow of the wild. "Businessmen they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth; none of them along the line, know what any of it is worth."

Friday (11/16/07): Ted Nugent - Great White Buffalo (Live) [Double Live Gonzo, 1978]
Comments: Among the drained resources, the buffalo (bison) were hunted nearly to extinction. The "white buffalo" phenomenon, in which a buffalo is born white instead of brown, is rare, and considered sacred by many native cultures. In The Nuge's narrative, the Great White Buffalo kicks some ass and takes names to avenge the diminished bison population.

Saturday (11/17/07): Buffalo Springfield - Broken Arrow [Buffalo Springfield Again, 1967]
Comments: "Could you tell that the empty-quivered, brown-skinned Indian on the banks that were crowded and narrow held a broken arrow?" Sing a song for the Indians who've been wronged, the Treaties that have been ignored, and take note of the broken arrow. I've heard it's supposed to be a symbol of peace.

Sunday (11/18/07): Neil Young - Cortez The Killer [Zuma, 1975]
Comments: North America wasn't alone in being subjected to the persecution of the natives. Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes arrived in Mexico to wreak havoc on the Aztec people. Neil Young recounts the sordid tale against one of his grooviest guitar jams on record.