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Friday, 29 September 2017

Floyd Westerman “Custer Died For Your Sins” 1969 US Native Country Protest Folk Rock


Floyd Westerman “Custer Died For Your Sins” 1969 US Native Country Protest Folk Rock

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The debut album of an American singer, actor and fighter for the rights of the indigenous population of the United States - politicized country folk with small inclusions of traditional Indian music…


This is one of the few recordings made by this intriguing Sioux musician who also goes by the name of Red Crow, which he traces back to his grandfather. He inherited this recording back from the label that had originally financed and released it, and it contains most of Westerman’s most famous songs. He doesn’t seem to have created a large catalog of compositions in his career, but the tricks he does have up his sleeve are good ones. The title song is tough and to the point, while other songs such as “Here Come the Anthros” reveal a stinging satirical sense of humor. Two anthems on the second side are particularly hard-hitting: “Missionaries,” certainly a well-deserved jab, and “Where Were You When,” which takes a poke at Native American pride of the opportunistic sort. Westerman is an engaging singer with a catchy sense of rhythm, and it is a shame he hasn’t cranked out another dozen albums of protest songs; his people certainly have plenty to complain about….. by Eugene Chadbourne…



Like most Native Americans of his generation, Floyd Westerman was wrenched away from the arms of his family at the age of five and sent off to a government boarding school nearly 100 miles away. These blatant attempts to destroy Indian civilization by breaking up families and making traditions obsolete became one of many subjects Westerman would take on when he developed into an important Native American protest singer and actor. 

A Dakota Sioux, Westerman remained at the boarding school for the next 12 years, until he had finished high school. By this time he had learned guitar after watching the older students play and picking up some basic chords from them. Like many players who begin with rock or folk music, he sensed that learning three chords was enough to perform much of the music that was circulating at the time, and he was right. He enjoyed music and he continued playing and singing after graduation. He was influenced by both the folk music of Bob Dylan and fellow Native American Buffy St. Marie, but, like many Native Americans, deeply loved country & western music and had a sincere fondness for one of its most expressive geniuses, Hank Williams. In a tribute to his own family dynasty, Westerman began using the name Red Cloud, which he had inherited from his grandfather and which had important spiritual connotations among the Sioux people. 

Westerman began performing in the Colorado area, his guitar playing improving considerably. At this time he established a friendship with the young author Vine Deloria Jr., also a songwriter. The subject of many of their discussions was the lack of songs about Native American issues and traditions. A collaboration began, as Westerman took sections of Deloria’s book, Custer Died for Your Sins, and created profound, sometimes humorous songs from the subjects. This work led to signing a recording contract in 1969 in New York City, and the eventual release of the first of two albums Westerman has recorded, titled after his friend’s book. The album had a strong country flavor that suited Westerman’s voice and has remained a sought-after classic ever since. It went out of print and was eventually released by Westerman himself, mostly distributed directly at his concerts and personal appearances. 

Westerman has performed all over the world, including large benefit and festival appearances with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Harry Belafonte, Kris Kristofferson, and Jackson Browne. He has been heavily involved with AIM, the American Indian Movement, during his entire career and has testified at congressional hearings on Native American issues, such as uranium mining. Although highly respected for his musical and songwriting accomplishments, he has actually had more time in the mainstream spotlight with his work as an actor. He made his screen debut in Renegades, playing the father of Lou Diamond Phillips. Since that time, his list of credits includes roles in Dances With Wolves, The Doors (he was Jim Morrison’s spiritual guide), Lakota Woman, Clearcut, and Grey Owl. He has also shown up on the small screen, playing the role of Uncle Ray on Walker, Texas Ranger as well as leads on Northern Exposure, L.A. Law, X-Files, Millenium, Roseanne, and appearances as Sitting Bull in the four-hour miniseries Son of the Morning Star. 

Westerman kept up an active schedule, his work as both an actor and musician focusing on “…the institutions that have destroyed our rights,” he says. “That’s what our struggle is all about, our spiritual rights and the Indian point of view…And they’re so old, they make the Bible look like it was recently written.” ~ Eugene Chadbourne…



By a thousand campfires, traveling the endless miles of reservation frustration, huddling in the desolate urban centers and Indian bars, the soul of the American Indian cries out to his gods for justification. 

Until now there has been no answer, no joyous cry of freedom. With this album. Floyd Westerman takes the giant step across cultures to bring the anguish and unquenchable pride of the American Indian to the forefront. 

Raised in government boarding schools, supporting himself since he was fourteen, victim and conqueror of the society that betrayed his ancestors, Floyd is the only person who could have done these songs. 

A veteran of the contemporary Indian movement, his rendition of Where Were You When? reflects the bitterness of those who have fought too hard only to be shunted aside in favor of newly arrived “Indian experts” who have all the answers. 

The defiant title song, Custer Died For Your Sins, could only be sung by one who has glimpsed the Indian renaissance in the reservation backwash of American society. 

Thirty-five More Miles, the story of Floyd’s mother represents the senseless waste of Indian lives by a society that does not understand and could not learn to care. 

Red, White and Black and Missionaries tell of the struggle against hopeless odds which seeks to create in American society new sense of the dimensions of cultures. 

Floyd was born to sing these songs and they were written in search of a singer like Floyd. Like the eyapaha, the cryer of old who summoned the camp to action, Floyd will provide the spark, the badly needed war songs that thousands have waited to hear. Hear him well. 

The songs, brilliantly penned by Jimmy Curtiss, are a testimony to Jimmy’s ability to transcend time and space and live with the people in their sorrow and triumphs, to understand their sense of hopelessness and yet to see their vision. 

With this album the continental divide of oppression is crossed and a new day begins. Remember it as the years pass and a new history for the American Indian is forged out of the decades. Remember how the world was before the songs were heard. The day is corning when you will not remember how it started — that it started with this record…



Floyd Westerman, also known as Kanghi Duta i.e. “Red Crow” in Dakota (August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007), was a Sioux musician, political activist, and actor. After establishing a career as a country music singer, later in his life, he became a leading actor depicting Native Americans in American films and television. He is sometimes credited simply as Floyd Westerman. He worked as a political activist for Native American causes.

Early life
He was born Floyd Westerman (Kanghi Duta) on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a federally recognized tribe. It is one of the tribes of the Eastern Dakota subgroup of the Great Sioux Nation, living within the U.S. state of South Dakota. Kanghi Duta means “Red Crow” in Dakota (one of the three Sioux related languages).

At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks (who as an adult became a leader of the American Indian Movement). There Westerman and other boys were forced to cut their traditionally long hair and forbidden to speak their native languages. This experience would profoundly impact Westerman’s later life. As an adult, he championed his own heritage.

He graduated from Northern State University with a B.A. degree in secondary education. He served two years in the US Marines, before beginning his career as a singer

Career
Before entering films and television, Westerman had established a solid reputation as a country-western music singer. His recordings offer a probing analysis of European influences in Native American communities. In addition to several solo recordings, Westerman collaborated with Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Belafonte,[3] Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. In the 1990s, he toured with Sting to raise funds to preserve rain forests

Westerman became interested in acting after years of performing as a singer. He debuted his film career in Renegades (1989), in which he played “Red Crow”, the Lakota Sioux father of Hank Storm, the character played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Additional film roles include “Chief Ten Bears” in Dances with Wolves (1990), and the “shaman” for the singer Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991). Westerman appeared as Standing Elk, alongside his long-time friend Max Gail, in the family film, Tillamook Treasure (2006). He appeared in Hidalgo (2004), as Chief Eagle Horn in Buffalo Bill’s circus. In September 2007, Westerman finished work for the film Swing Vote (2008).

Television roles included playing “George” on Dharma & Greg, “Uncle Ray” on Walker, Texas Ranger (in the pilot and first regular seasons), “One Who Waits” on Northern Exposure, and multiple appearances as “Albert Hosteen” on The X-Files
Westerman died from complications of leukemia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on December 13, 2007. He was surrounded by his wife Rosie and five children…..wiki…






Musicians 
Floyd Westerman: Vocals, Rythm Guitar 
John Palmer Trivers: Bass 
Bob Abrahams: Acoustic Lead Guitar 
Jerry Shook: Harp, Dobro 
Barry Lazarowitz: Drums 
J.C. (Jim Curtiss): Rhythm Guitar 
Pete Drake: Steel Guitar


Tracklist 

A1 Custer Died For Your Sins 3:18 
A2 Missionaries 2:20 
A3 World Without Tomorrow 3:36 
A4 Goin’ Back 2:58 
A5 35 More Miles 3:40 
A6 Red, White And Black 1:45 
B1 Where Were You Then 3:12 
B2 Here Come The Anthros 1:57 
B3 They Didn’t Listen 3:21 
B4 Task Force 1:40 
B5 B.I.A. 2:20 



Album
Custer Died For Your Sins 
1969 - Perception Records PLP-5 LP 
1978 - Trikont US-40 LP (Germany)

Singles
35 More Miles & World Without Tomorrow 
1970 - Perception P-8 

Discography 
Custer Died for Your Sins (1969) 
Indian Country (1970) 
Custer Died for Your Sins (re-recording; 1982) 
The Land is Your Mother (1982) 
Oyate (with Tony Hymas; 1990) 
A Tribute to Johnny Cash (2006) 

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