Thursday, June 25, 2015

It Was You And Me

Podcasts are my life. Not really, I have no life, but I listen to many podcasts.

I haven't followed it in awhile but one of the first podcasts I came across outside the Pacifica radio network was called Cherokee Voices, Cherokee Sounds, which comes out of the Cherokee Nation headquarters in Talequa, Oklahoma, hosted and produced by Dennis Sixkiller, who gives much of the information in English and Cherokee.

Dennis Sixkiller
As I was driving out to Holbrook last night I looked it up on my cell phone to see if he still uses the same opening music, a nice little version of the gospel classic Turn Your Radio On sung in Cherokee. It's still there. It's a knockout, flawless performance of what is basically their customized version of the arrangement recorded by The Chuckwagon Gang way back when.  The Cherokees add a little more internal complexity and tailor it to their voices, I think. I don't know who's singing but it's obviously a Cherokee gospel quartet.

After listening to it a few times through my excellent ear buds I went looking for other versions on YouTube, which is where I found The Chuckwagon Gang version and why I say it's the same basic arrangement. Here's a nice 38-minute long collection of The Chuckwagon Gang recordings -- some sound rather repetitive, you might say, but some are pretty interesting. You have to like that kind of music, I guess. The beauty of listening to it sung in Cherokee is you don't have to know what they're singing about. Turn Your Radio On by the way was written by Albert Brumley who wrote such classics as I'll Fly Away.

Albert Brumley
I also came across a bizarre modern day re-incarnation of The Chuckwagon Gang. Some evangelical Christians, perhaps one or more of whom is a descendant of one of the orignal group, which was a father, son and two daughters, has re-recorded some of the tunes and then made one of those highly produced videos to sell them with where they pretend to be singing the songs they recorded earlier in a sound studio.

White Christian music is just plain bizarre. There's a code -- you can only move around so much, only get so vocally demonstrative. You've got to show that you're entirely under control at all times. If you're singing a song done earlier by Black people you must erase all the Blackness from it. No soul allowed. At all. No getting the holyghost on stage. (An exception is The Gaithers, who do get the holyghost on stage at times.)

The modern The Chuck Wagon Gang. These women are wearing the equivalent of burkas.

Here's something to get that image out of your mind with.



  1. The Stones are good erasers of most unpleasant things. Thanks.

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for the comment.

  2. I rather enjoyed the early version, but I also like the version of Mighty Mouse by the Black Lodge Singers.....
    I wonder if Mr. Sixkiller is related to Sonny Sixkiller, also from OK....helluva QB for UW in the very early 70's.
    Thanks for your comments on my blog daughter asked if I was trying to 'thin the herd' with my latest posts.....

    1. Holy Mackeral. Where in the world did you come up with Black Lodge Singers?

      I remembered Sonny Sixkiller but nothing about him. Like almost everything now there's a Wikipedia article about him which says he was born in Talequah and is a Cherokee. I see 24 listings for Sixkiller in an online phone directory for Talequah, which has a population of 15,000. I see a Dennis but no Alex L., Sonny's real name. Wikipedia says his dad moved the family to Ashland to work in a lumber mill when Sonny was 1, so you might have more ties to him than does Dennis.

      You're welcome about the comments and you raise an interesting point. I suppose there's always a tension in writing, especially, probably, polemical writing but maybe all of it, between the writer and his or her perceived audience. It makes me wonder now whether we were ever really getting the full tilt from any of the people we've ever read and heard and followed and admired. Just how calculating are they?

      And what was Lincoln really thinking when he wrote the Gettysburg address? If he was me it would have started off, "Riding down here on the train I got to thinking. These tracks wouldn't be so damn bumpy if we had an income tax....

      Thanks for the comments!