EVERYBODY POWWOW! is a powerful new concept album. It is part protest album, part celebration, part tragic love story. It takes the listener on an epic journey across oceans and continents, in a tale of dreams and aspirations, corruption and betrayal, hope and glory.
The story is set in the late 19th century. A tide of humanity from the east is moving westwards onto the Great Plains in search of land and a new life. The Sioux, whose land it is, have other ideas. They’re waging guerrilla war on the Army.
From the North of England to the heart of America
Thomas Christian, a young coal miner, whom we follow from his hometown in the North of England to the heart of America, meets and falls in love with Rosie, a young girl from the Oglala Sioux tribe. He’s arrested and conscripted into the army. He realizes his mistake, deserts, and rejoins his new friend and her family in the Badlands. He is taken to a mountain top and shown a great vision.
Later that year, in the deep mid-winter, the army surround the camp, arrest Thomas, and start to disarm the men. A shot goes off, and then a fusillade of rifle and automatic fire. Thomas, and Rosie and her family are all caught in the cross fire, with tragic consequences.
You can listen to selected tracks in the player below.
THE POWWOW ROCK ORCHESTRA
Everybody Powwow! Features the singing talents of Robert Hart and Emma Pears; and Bernie Marsden, Gary Grainger, Jay Stapley, and Wes McGhee on Guitar, Jimmy Copley on Drums, Simon Edwards on Bass and Percussion, Alan Stewart on Bass Clarinet and Sax, Simon Webb on keyboards and vocals, Steve Stapley, Stella Betton, Bernie Marsden and Kevin Williams on backing vocals, Roddy Lorimer, Dave Plews, Paul Spong and Steve Sidwell on trumpets, Simon Clarke and Tim Sanders on Saxophones, Daniel Emond on French Horn, Pete Thoms, Roger Williams and Simon Wills on trombone, Bob Loveday on violin, and Lorelei King narrating. Recorded and mixed by Ian Tompson at Humber Road Studio, and produced by Ian Tompson and Simon Webb for Spiderhawk Records. Pre-production by Martin Russell at Sonic Innovation. Mastering by Andy Jackson at Tube Mastering. Published by wwWebmusic.
EVERYBODY POWWOW! – The Back Story
Simon Webb writes: When I first traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation in 1978, the aftermath of the occupation of Wounded Knee by the American Indian Movement in ’73 could still plainly be felt. It wasn’t easy to get in, and the atmosphere on the reservation was extremely tense. Gunfire erupted periodically at night.
I was introduced to local Oglala people, and invited into their homes. I listened to their stories, and the stories of their great chiefs and war-leaders, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Black Elk.
And yet it was hard to square this proud history with the conditions that I found on the reservation: Poverty, alcoholism, unemployment, despair. This just didn’t look like modern America. What had gone wrong? Surely things would change.
And they did: for the worse.
Conditions In Modern America
Despite powerful advocacy, (most recently by Michelle Obama), conditions now on the reservation have further deteriorated: 97 percent of the population live in poverty, teenage suicide is a major issue, infant mortality rate is 300% over the national average, there is 90% unemployment, average annual household income is between $2,600 and $3,500, and alcoholism affects 8 out of 10 families contributing to a death rate that is 300% higher than the national average.
Pine Ridge Reservation has no industry to provide employment for its residents. There are no banks, motels, discount stores or movie theatres, and yet it is the size of Connecticut, with a population of 18,834.
Such conditions in modern America, to an outsider, are truly shocking. It is inevitable that one day America’s conscience will awaken, and this great wrong be righted. Bring it on! Everybody Powwow!
Link to Simon Webb’s blogs on the writing and recording of Everybody Powwow!
Blog: On February 27th, 1973, an American public, wearied by the Vietnam War, woke to the unreal prospect of guerrilla war in its own heartland. American Indians converged on a small village in South Dakota and vowed to change the world, or die….(more)
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….(more)
Arriving in New York, Joe Eula turns out to be a very good host. He has a stunning apartment on West 54th Street, and seems to know everyone; Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, and Miles Davis (with whom I have a memorable brief phone conversation) to name but three. It would be very easy to be seduced by all the magic that New York has to offer, but…(more)
- Dream Overture
- Chase The Sun
- Shine On
- This Is The Life
- Don’t Leave Me
- Gold Fever
- Live The Life
- The Buffalo Song
- Heyoka Man
- One Day
- Crazy Horse
- In Another World
- Camp Fire
- Everybody Powwow!
- Lakota Prayer
- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
- This Land Is My Land
- Chase The Sun (Reprise