Your Love’s Lost… And Found

Hey Native People of all stripes (including those with actual stripes!)

You’ve been such a well-mannered group, and your karma is at such a high level for not throwing brickbats at Dave (@davenav) for his choices in what to present to you in this, our on-going weekly blog celebrating the vast vaults of vivid, yet vainglorious variegation in our labyrinthian lair of little-known lore, that we’ve decided to throw ya’ll a bone!

We’re temporarily, and temporally, deactivating the chronological component of this exercise, and jumping into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine for a journey to that fabled year of 1993, when people had hair that covered their entire bodies, fashion trends had not yet been invented, and social media meant owning a Sony Walkman with a mono speaker plugged in. So, move over Sherman! Break out the tie-die tees, and Twizzlers!

Today, we unearth a lost song in the annals of Nativedom — one that was written in a fever-dream by Dave, with lyrics written in an overlit New School Classroom by Anthony Balsley, Native’s original lead singer. Ironically, it is a lost song about something that is lost.

A real fan favorite, the tune made the transition to the Mat Hutt Regency Era, and flourished until the Bronze Age, sometime around the discovery of the frock coat.

We played this song a lot, indeed, it appears on the cassette from which today’s version originates, twice. This unmarked tape was uncovered too late to include it where it rightly should be, on Nativology Vol. 2. It was recorded during one of our weekly stints at the mythical Wetlands Preserve, by the legendary archer and soundman, John Leteurza.

Later that same year, when John Epstein joined the band, and the great epoch of silly voices was born, that seems to be when this song fell into the La Brea Tar Pits of 26th Street, Manhattan. Left to lie undiscovered, with not even a tape cover to mark it’s passing, but perfectly preserved — until now.

This is the core five-piece Native. Mat Hutt – of Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocal, and double-take-inducing stage announcements. Matt Lyons – of blockbusting bass, undying fealty to Stax Records, and strange northern sporting teams. Michael Jaimes, guitar god, mischievous imp, owner of three tee shirts. John Wood, of Percussion ensemble, fishing tackle, and Space Cadet Decoder Ring. David Thomas – of too many drums, and way too much cymbalism.

(But, don’t worry Chris Wyckoff fans! We’ll return to our regularly scheduled trip through the Wickedly Weird Wyckoffian Age, in next week’s ultra-thrilling edition of Nativology Vol. 4.)

So here it is — sit back with a hefty stein of Mead, and enjoy a stirring tribute to being left colder than yesterday’s lunch —

Love’s Lost

Cornbread Wednesday

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Sing along with Native! Yee Haw!

As I’ve gone through the Native mixes for the Exhale On Spring Street album, I’ve been struck by how closely we hewed to the plan for the album. The songs we chose all made it to the released version, and there are very few notable outtakes.

What we *do* have, however, is the opportunity to eventually put out a hi-res version of Exhale, and include some bonus remixes done by engineer Craig Randall, and myself, @davenav – your humble blogger (and someone who would love to have you follow my twitter account).

But, there is one item left from the Exhale sessions that we at Native Central would like to share, and it’s pretty unique.

For some reason, we did what’s called a TV Mix – meant to be used if the band appeared on a television show, but had to play to a backing track. In cases like this, there usually was a live vocal, with everything else canned.

We never used it, nor do we know why we chose this particular song, nor do I think we would have mimed to a backing track anyway. But, we made this mix, and now you can sing along with the lyrics below. Karaoke!

Pendleton Roundup TV MIx

It’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s as good as it gets
Biggest little town in the
Whole Northwest
You might get your picture
In the Police Gazette
Steer ropin’, saddle-bronc,
Ridin’ events

Well, Bob Fletcher’s Famous
Mounted Roundup Band
Will introduce the entrance
Of the Indians
And all the cowboys competing
In the main event
Will ride, rope, and brand
For the championship

Well, it’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s as good as it gets
Biggest little town in the
Whole Northwest
You might get your picture
In the Police Gazette
Steer ropin’, saddle-bronc,
Ridin’ events

We drew for mounts
And I drew Cul-de-sac
No one’d ever stayed
On the old hoss’s back
With the reins in my left
And my hat in my right
I hoped I hadn’t cinched
That saddle too tight

Well, it’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s as good as it gets
Biggest little town in the
Whole Northwest
You might get your picture
In the Police Gazette
Steer ropin’, saddle-bronc,
Ridin’ events

It’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s the Pendleton Roundup
A little thing called a rodeo

(Guitar solo)

I smiled at the judges
And the snubbing crew
As he hit the ground hard
And turned like a screw
‘Tween me and that hoss
There was lots of sunshine
Then a straight-a-way
Followed by a High kick behind

Their mouths were hung open
When they saw Cul-de-sac
Canter to a stop as
I stepped from his back
And all the cowboys knew
If I was still on my feet
That Yakima Canutt would be
The rider to beat

Well, it’s the Pendleton Roundup
It’s as good as it gets
Biggest little town in the
Whole Northwest
You might get your picture
In the Police Gazette
Steer ropin’, saddle-bronc,
Ridin’ events

It’s the Pendleton Roundup (x6)

A little thing called a rodeo

Steer-Ropin’, Saddle-Bronc, Riding Events!

In our years as a band, we covered a lot of territory – rock, funk, reggae, folk, blues, rockabilly, ska…

But, I remember quite clearly the day I suggested to the band that we try our hand at a Country – or, more precisely – a Western song. I wanted us to be able to say, as the Blues Brothers did, that we play both kinds of music – Country *AND* Western.

But, my interest in old westerns, particularly the singing cowboy oaters of Roy Rogers, was a big part of my suggestion.

Having written a script about legendary film director, John Ford, and in the process uncovering significantly arresting material on the equally legendary stuntman, Yakima Canutt, I endeavored to take bits & bobs of Yak’s early rodeo exploits and cram them into a song in a genre I had, until that moment, avoided – Country Rock.

To my enduring surprise, the band not only responded in the affirmative, after an off-the-cuff recital of the lyrics on the way to a gig in Maine, but the alacrity with which my song was thrust into our set lists was, considering the lack of success I’d had with so many preceding composition-offerings, it left my head spinning!

But, I should not have been surprised. It’s a great song, if I do say so myself.

The speed with which it was assimilated into our repertoire meant that it represents a departure from our normal modus operandi when it came to the recording process. Usually, we would play a song for months, if not years, before we set it in stone, so to speak.

My rodeo tune was recorded in that hot August of 1997, just weeks after I wrote it, when we spent a feverish weekend laying down tracks for the Exhale On Spring Street album.

It went on to become a tentpole in all our future set-lists. Now, it’s a part of the soundtrack to my play, Barnstorm, and I’ve written many C&W songs since then.

But, none mean more to me than this ode to a rodeo rider whose impact was such that he is even listed in our album credits as Stunt Co-ordinator!

Here it is, just the way it sounded before adding Catherine Russell and Woody on vocals, and another legend – Buddy Cage on Steel Guitar. It’s a good example of how tight we were, that this was laid down completely live in the studio — heck, we were so good, we could have maybe played in Bob Fletcher’s Famous Mounted Round-up Band!

Pendleton Roundup (Alt. Mix)

Cornbread Wednesday

Good, good Levin!

Well, it’s Wednesday, and I smell cornbread, so there must be some Native music coming your way! As Marlon Brando said in Last Tango In Paris, “Pass me the butter.”

We’ve been looking through the Native Tape Archive, buried deep in the southwestern mountains of Moldavia, for quite some time. And, we’ve covered a lot of ground, for the archives are replete with sumptuous piles of incredible unreleased songs, and a variety of other rarities.

I, your humble archivist and curator – davenative, have had a ball poring through all the recordings this wonderful band left in its’ wake. We had our own recording studio, and we gathered there diligently at least twice a week for the entire duration of our decade of decadent existence – so, there is a lot to ponder, assess, and reassess.

As the band drummer, I’m in a unique position to know of the many riches to be mined in these cavernous vaults.

This week’s spelunking has lead us to an outtake from our second studio album. As I go through the session tapes, I’m rediscovering some deep cuts that feature a different mix, and I must say it’s a revelatory experience, to say the least. With the passage of time, I now have the luxury of stepping back and enjoy something in a way that I couldn’t before – as Producer, I was too enmired in the chromadots, as it were, to see the big picture.

Case in point – I’m blown away by how we built something new atop the now-established Native stylistic platform.

We never lost our ability to try something new, and expand the our horizons. We were exploring the jungle of our own habitat.

We had great writers, fantastic singers, a wonderful front-man in Mat Hutt, a powerful rhythm section, and a procession of unique and demented keyboard players.

But, even with all that, we had a particular ace up our sleeve – Michael Jaimes.

I’ve always felt that Mike was a world-class guitarist, easily in the same league as any of the giants of rock, (and a damn sight better than some – sorry, Slash) and it’s just a shame that to this day, he remains unrecognized as such, except by a small, but passionate coterie of fans.

Mike was my best friend, but I must admit that I was also a fan. Going through the tapes is always a mixed blessing because of that – as much as I love uncovering, and sharing all these performances, it’s a bit tough to hear Mike’s never-ending quest for guitar immortality over and over, week after week. He was just so good – so endlessly inventive. I’ve played with a lot of guitarists, and admired so many others over the years, but no one – NO ONE — can match that certain something that Mike always brought to the party.

Today’s tune features keyboard dynamo Pete Levin, who came to Brass Giraffe Studios one hot Saturday in July 1997, and laid down this smoking track in one take.

As amazing as that is, equally amazing is the sympathetic support Mike offers in his highly intuitive call and response, and as he and Mat harmonize their guitars in sterling, funky, melodic riffing.

(And, lest we forget, Chris Wyckoff throws in some tasty organ-flavored atmostphere, as he transitioned into the permanent keyboard spot for the next three years!)

This track appeared in a different mix on our Exhale On Spring Street long player, which can be obtained for a pittance on our Bandcamp site, iTunes, AmazonMP3, and Gabby Hayes.org.

We do recognize, of course, in our mercenary little hearts, that…

Love Should Be Free (Alt. Mix)

Cornbread Wednesday