After a few days acclimatizing and sight-seeing, I head north towards Harlem to visit The American Indian Museum. I feel a little exposed with my bulky leather camera bag slung over my shoulder.
I drop a quarter into the hat of a homeless man near Times Square, and walk on. I am immediately aware that I am being shadowed. I jump on a bus and make my escape. Whew! That was close! This is 1978, and New York has a tough reputation.
Or am I just imagining things?
I miss my stop, and head further into Harlem than I intended. I’m out of my element here. A kindly gentleman points out my error, and directs me south a couple of blocks.
Finally I walk into the museum, a relieved tourist!
Over the next few days I visit The American Indian Museum, The Hispanic Museum, The Museum Of Natural History, and The Museum of Modern Art.
I pound the streets and soak up the atmosphere. This is so different from North Yorkshire. I feel a sense of freedom amongst these huge buildings and vast avenues.
This is the life, I write in my diary, and later use this phrase as the chorus for a song for the album. Here it is:
All humanity is here. People of all colours and shades. I try to engage in conversation as much as I can, and mostly people are friendly and seem happy to talk. They are amused by my accent!
But where are the Native Americans? I can’t seem to meet one. Not even at The American Indian Museum!
I think I’m going to have to head west.
I say my good byes to Joe, and board a flight to Chicago. We leave in bright warm sunshine, and arrive in deep snow. It’s very cold. I’m not expecting this, and besides, I have more flights to catch, to Watertown, South Dakota, via Minneapolis St. Paul.
Both flights are delayed by the weather, but finally I arrive in Watertown, and am greeted by my new hosts Br Benet, Br. Michael, and Br. Sebastian. They’re Benedictine monks and live at Blue Cloud Abbey where I am to stay for this stage of my journey. All three are dressed in bulky casual clothes, and don’t look like monks at all. They’re very welcoming, and take me for a pizza, with jugs of light ale.
Later we drive to the Abbey in a huge car. We stop to pick up a hitch hiker. He is an old Indian man. He is very large, and only speaks Lakota. He shakes my hand and smiles. I have met my first Indian!
More to follow
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Links to further blogs about Everybody Powwow! below:
By the time Ian Tompson greeted me at the front gate of Humber Road Studios in Blackheath, on the first day of recording Everybody Powwow!, I thought I was well prepared, and was looking forward to finally getting in the studio with my songs…
On February 27th, 1973, an American public, wearied by the Vietnam War, woke to the unreal prospect of guerrilla war in its own heartland……
EVERYBODY POWWOW! – Back Story – Part 2
I wake to the sound of surf, the sea, lapping at my feet. The light hurts. I push down into my sleeping bag. It’s wet. There’s a heavy dew. I rub my eyes, my skin is sore, the sun is already hot. I reach for a bottle of water, drink and lie back….
Everybody Powwow! will be on general release on Spiderhawk Records from June 15th 2015.