Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985

I know mine isn’t and shouldn’t be the most valued opinion on the matter, but I really like the Indigenous Peoples’ Day idea — the suggestion that we’d acknowledge the fact that Columbus was more than a little monstrous by replacing his holiday with one that celebrates the people he did monstrous things to. (The same people America has done monstrous things to, not-so-incidentally.)

I was a day late, but yesterday afternoon, while I was working from home, I decided to spend the afternoon listening to all six sides of Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, the stunning compilation Light in the Attic Records released in 2014.

I didn’t know a thing about the artists on the album when I bought it. Frankly I don’t know what made me get it — I know I knocked off some of the sticker price by trading in some super weird Goodwill finds at Steady Sounds, but I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand. But it seemed important. And bigger than its physical size, somehow, like the reverse of that hallway in Willy Wonka that gets smaller and smaller as you walk down it.

And it really is a stunning artifact. The 12×12 book that accompanies the three discs offers a wealth of information, and the music on those discs ranges from familiar to remote, professional to amateur, trippy to tribal. But all of it sounds intensely intentional. Heartfelt. And, yes, important.

I still have a lot to learn about the people featured in Native North America, Vol. 1, and I’m planning to make it a regular part of the second Monday in October, regardless of what that day ends up being called.

Willy Mitchell — “Kill’n Your Mind” [Spotify/iTunes]

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