The Holy Modal Rounders

Indian War Whoop

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Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber obviously loved American folk music as much as any of the kids who had their head turned around by Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music in the 1950s, but unlike the many musicians who paid tribute to America's musical past by trying to re-create it as closely as possible, as The Holy Modal Rounders Stampfel and Weber opted to drag the music into the present, shrieking and giggling all the way. Even by the standards of The Holy Modal Rounders' first two albums, 1967's Indian War Whoop is a thoroughly bizarre listening experience; loosely structured around the between-song adventures of two seedy vagabonds named Jimmy and Crash, side one veers back and forth between neo-psychedelic fiddle-and-guitar freakouts and free-form (and often radically altered) interpretations of traditional folk tunes such as "Soldier's Joy" and "Sweet Apple Cider," while side two is devoted to like minded originals (including a couple songs from their friend Michael Hurley, who would later join the group). Most certainly a product of its time, Indian War Whoop sounds rather dated today, but its buoyant good humor and chemically-altered enthusiasm remains effective, even when the Rounders' reckless pursuit of inner space sounds like it was more fun to create than to observe on record. [The Calibre CD reissue features expanded liner notes, and while no bonus tracks have been added, the digital remastering sounds terrific.]

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