Various Artists

War Dance Songs of the Ponca, Vol. 1

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The LP version of this production was the first to be distributed commercially, coming out in 1967 courtesy of the small Indian House enterprise of Taos, NM. The larger version of the cover photograph is worth the price of admission alone, but more importantly the album notes fill in many details not provided on the dinky cassette fold-in sold at powwows throughout the '70s and '80s. Neither release identifies the actual name of the powwow or drum circle group that performs these 18 selections, but once again the album provides more detail regarding individual responsibilities in what most likely was not just an ad hoc group. The entire credit for a fellow named Tony Isaacs, who did a job of great magnificence producing and recording the original 1967 session, seems to have gone the way of the Canadian goose on the cassette release, likewise the liner notes by Isaacs that actually identify this set of Ponca songs as being part of that tribe's Hetoshka tradition. Singers James Waters and Sylvester Warrior take on the important role of camp crier on this inspiring set of songs, musically initiating and introducing the Hetoshka meeting and then calling forth memorials to the great deeds of their ancestors. The drum sound is superb; the instrument sounds deep enough to prepare enough chili in to feed everyone involved, including Stella Yellow Horse.

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