CD: JOHN McNEILL – Songs of Yankton’s Past

JOHN McNEILL
Songs of Yankton’s Past
Indian Ground – Pa Da Ne A Pa Pe – Mato Saba
Chea – The Day The Carrier Came – One That Knocks Down Two – Medicine
Cow – Snug Little Sum – Bribe The Tribe – A Ha Ka Ho Che Cha – Where The
Indians Are – Big Ta-Do in ’62 – 1862
 
John McNeill is an old friend of mine, an excellent life-long musician and a true devotee of historical truth. Truth
is sometimes difficult to confront, but in the end, it’s the only
accurate record we have historically of anything.  We are living in a
society today that wants to do anything but truth.  In the end, no
matter how hard they try to deny it, it will prevail. “Indian Ground”
the opening song on this wonderfully historically accurate musical
delight, details the ignominy of the settlers that eventually took away
the “Indian Ground.” for whatever their reasons.  John’s voice
throughout is that of a story-teller with a destination that includes
the wisdom of age.  He’s been working on this project for quite some
time, eventually to include some 12 CD’s of historic interest,
justifiably of the Dakotas, the States of the Dakotas.  John is working
by himself in his own small home studio, and amazingly creating original
‘folk’ music exactly as it used to be.  And, he does this in a most
unique way.  He plays a wonderful hollow-body electric guitar that
emanates some wonderful folky sounds.  He also plays the drums and the
harmonica at the same time, bringing some extraordinary sounds forward
that certainly places truth and history before the altar called musical
expression. Enunciation is extremely important in this kind of project. 
Being unfamiliar with some of the Native American’s expressions and
nuances, enunciation becomes even more important.   “One That Knocks
Down Two” takes us into a kind of jazz backing, but the story is
ultimately the focal point of a great historical ‘story.’  Throughout
the CD he continues to ‘return’ to a very imaginative Indian drum beat,
constantly changing the impetus of it.  The guitar riffs on “Snug Little
Sum” is indeed original and incredibly well done.  This is probably my
favorite of the songs, because it so very elegantly exposes ‘cheat’ and
‘lies’ to truth.  Not the longest song on the CD at over six minutes,
it’s however worth every second.  “Bribe The Tribe” falls into that same
category.  Native American lore, history, displaced, utter misery,
cheated, lied to, murdered, robbed, killed, slain, war…war….war. 
It’s so profitable, war!  Oh it’s so profitable.  Just a little blood
here and there from the innocent, not much, but look at all the profit. 
Young lives smothered, destroyed, not much, but look at all the
profit.  Property destroyed, everywhere, not much, we’ll rebuild, just
look at all that profit.
 
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART – www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine

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