Various Artists

American Indian Ceremonial & War Dances [Everest]

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The material on this Everest release from the '70s is apparently different than the program of both a CD and cassette released in the '90s courtesy of the Legacy and Tradition companies, respectively. These projects all share the same title and the concept of using a gaudy color painting for an album cover. Likewise, they share the idea of providing a budget-priced overview of Native American music, although the Everest vinyl side at its original new price surely beats the pants off whatever the compact disc was being offered for. If only details about the performers involved and when the individual recordings were done were as clear as the antics of various cost-cutting world music outfits competing in a world of shifting formats. At least there are a series of group names associated with the 15 tracks featured here, sometimes individuals, all very evocative and, in the case of the Big Fields Villagers, even sounding like some kind of hip ska group. Of course, nothing is hipper than what is actually here, all recorded very well and with a dynamic presence not often associated with Everest pressings. Vocalists such as Chief Spotted Back Hamilton provide moments in which the listener will either snap to attention or admit to a total lack of ability to concentrate. There is plenty of variety in rhythm and instrumental texture as the program moves from Apache territory to Ute to Kiowa to Navajo and Sioux testimonials for their courage on the Iwo Jima and Korean battlefields.

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