Olympic Hopeful

Lewis and Clark's First Bungle

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Since these three songs are instrumental, you're left wondering just what Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's first bungle was. But since my summer reading included Stephen E. Ambrose's bestseller Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, I can tell you what I think it was: On October 4, 1804, in what is today Northern South Dakota, "The soldiers enjoyed the favors of the Arikara tribe women, often encouraged to do so by the husbands, who believed that they would catch some of the power of the white men from such intercourse transmitted to them through their wives. Whether the Indians got any such power cannot be said, but what they had gotten for sure from their [similar] hospitality to previous white traders was venereal disease, which was rampant in the village and was passed on to the men in the expedition." Ouch. Oh, the music? Not far off from Pell Mell and other rhythmic outfits who put such intensity into ringing little parts, stops and starts, and ambitious arrangements that there's no need for choruses. You forget vocals were ever an option, especially on the all over the place but tight "Sunshine Makeout" into "Hudson River School." Dave Auchenbach's instant production serves this guitar/drums duo perfectly, while Sean Andrews' playing is quite interesting, rocking back and forth between the bass strings of his axe -- since there's no bassist -- and the higher pitched ones. (P.O. Box 2062, Providence, RI 02905; spinichpie@aol.com)