Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track Two

Part of A Series: Route 66: Sufjan Stevens: Illinois

To View the whole series as one LONG post CLICK HERE



Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track One:
The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TwoCome On! Feel the Illinoise! (Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition – Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream)/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track ThreeJohn Wayne Gacy, Jr./Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FourJacksonville/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FiveA Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane But for Very Good Reasons/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track Six

Casimir Pulaski Day/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TenRock River Valley, Superman, Peoria and Drones/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Eleven to FourteenWasps and Zombies/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Fifteen to EighteenCelebrate The Few, Celebrate The New. It Can Only Start With You/Sufjan Stevens Illinois Tracks Nineteen to Twenty Two 
    The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!'" is one of the longest song title I can recall. The song itself is short. Here is a fan made video of it to enjoy:




    I find the song to be to very reminiscent of Phillip Glass's Koyaanisqatsi: Life In The Balance.I also think Stevens is aware of the connection and making it intentionally. From our old friend Wikipededia:
    According to Hopi Dictionary: Hopìikwa Lavàytutuveni, the Hopi word koyaanisqatsi (Hopi pronunciation: [kojɑːnisˈkɑtsi]) is defined as "life of moral corruption and turmoil" or "life out of balance" The prefix koyaanis– means "corrupted" or "chaotic", and the word qatsi means "life" or "existence" literally translating koyaanisqatsi as "chaotic life" The film also defines the word as "crazy life", "life in turmoil", "life disintegrating", and "a state of life that calls for another way of living"
    If you are not already familiar with  Koyaanisqatsi: Life In The Balance, it is an amazing film.Here is a trailer for the film followed by a live performance of the peice at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009.




    After that digression, back to the subject at hand. The Blackhawk war is described by Wikipedia as follows:
    The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S. state of Illinois in April 1832. Black Hawk's motives were ambiguous, but he was apparently hoping to avoid bloodshed while resettling on land that had been ceded to the United States in a disputed 1804 treaty.
    American officials, convinced that the British Band was hostile, mobilized a frontier army. With few U.S. Army soldiers in the region, most American troops were part-time, poorly trained militiamen. Hostilities began on May 14, 1832, when the militia opened fire on a delegation from the Native Americans. Black Hawk responded by attacking the militia force, soundly thrashing them at the Battle of Stillman's Run. He led his band to a secure location in what is now southern Wisconsin. As U.S. forces pursued Black Hawk's band, Native Americans conducted raids against forts and settlements. Some Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi warriors with grievances against Americans took part in these raids, although most members of those tribes tried to avoid the conflict. The Menominee and Dakota tribes, already at odds with the Sauks and Meskwakis, supported the Americans.
    Commanded by General Henry Atkinson, the U.S. troops tried to track down the British Band. Militia under Colonel Henry Dodge caught up with the British Band on July 21 and defeated them at the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. Black Hawk's band, weakened by hunger, death, and desertion, retreated towards the Mississippi. On August 2, American soldiers attacked the remnants of the British Band at the Battle of Bad Axe, killing or capturing most of them. Black Hawk and other leaders escaped, but later surrendered and were imprisoned for a year.
    The Black Hawk War is now often remembered as the conflict that gave young Abraham Lincoln his brief military service. Other notable American participants included Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, and Jefferson Davis. The war gave impetus to the US policy of Indian removal, in which Native American tribes were pressured to sell their lands and move west of the Mississippi River.
    The perception of the Native Americans, who are the obvious speakers in the quotation marked title, was certainly an out of balance life, such as in the film I suspect Sufjan Stevens was paying tribute to. The desire to achieve balance was the driving force behind the attempted resettlement with flared up into the full scale conflict. I would go as far as to say that the notion of land ownership in general, likely was seen as a sign of life being out of balance to the Native Americans.

    To be honest, I was unfamiliar with the Blackhawk war before beginning to write this post. In the course of my research I found a few videos worth sharing about that battle as well as about Lincolns place in it. I hope they can shed some enlightened background on the war.




    If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.


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    Thanks!

    To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:
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    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track One

    Part of A Series: Route 66: Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
    To View the whole series as one LONG post CLICK HERE


    Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track One:
    The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TwoCome On! Feel the Illinoise! (Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition – Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream)/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track ThreeJohn Wayne Gacy, Jr./Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FourJacksonville/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FiveA Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane But for Very Good Reasons/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track Six
    Casimir Pulaski Day/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TenRock River Valley, Superman, Peoria and Drones/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Eleven to FourteenWasps and Zombies/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Fifteen to EighteenCelebrate The Few, Celebrate The New. It Can Only Start With You/Sufjan Stevens Illinois Tracks Nineteen to Twenty Two 
      Sufjan Stevens and Illinois

      Sufjan Stevens is an Indie artist with some serious musical chops. He has a style that is sort of a blend of indie folk and minimalist chamber music. He also is well known for being a deeply spiritual person with a very mystical interpretation of Christianity. I still haven't listened to this album enough to call myself a fan per se, but I appreciate the craftsmanship in his music and fully expect his work to grow on me and age like fine a whiskey, or a bible verse. In fact, in the course of researching his work for this blog it HAS grown on me. His album, Illinois was introduced in 2005 as the second of a promised series with one album for each state (the first state was Michigan). Reportedly, tracks involving Oregon and Rhode Island have been written, but there have been no further releases in the series. The album made many critics list for top album of the year and then later the decade.
      From Wikipedia:
      Best of the year (2005) lists
      Publisher Accolade Rank
      Amazon.com Best of 2005: Top 100 Editors' Picks #1
      Amazon.com Best of 2005: Editors' Picks in Alternative Rock #2
      NPR's All Songs Considered The Best Music of 2005 #1
      NME 50 best albums of 2005 #7
      No Ripcord Top 50 Albums of 2005 #1
      Pitchfork Media Top 50 Albums of 2005 #1
      PopMatters Best 50 Albums of 2005 #2
      Spin The 40 Best Albums of 2005 #8
      Stylus Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2005 #10

      Best of the decade (2000–2009) lists
      Publisher Accolade Rank
      NPR's All Songs Considered The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings Unranked, out of 50 recordings
      NME The Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade #17
      No Ripcord The No Ripcord Years (1999–2009) Unranked, one of six reviewed for 2005
      Paste The 50 Best Albums of the Decade #1
      Pitchfork Media The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s #16
      Rolling Stone 100 Best Albums of the '00s #78
      Slant Best of the Aughts: Albums #9

      Due to the complexity of his subject matter this album will likely be a track by track affair, but have faith loyal travelers that when we complete this album we will pick up a little speed as we explore other musical roads in Chicago and Illinois and on down Route 66.

      Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
       
      Lyrics:
      When the revenant came down
      We couldn't imagine what it was
      In the spirit of three stars
      The alien thing that took its form
      Then to Lebanon, oh, God!
      The flashing at night, the sirens grow and grow
      (Oh history involved itself)
      Mysterious shade that took its form (or what it was!)
      Incarnation, three stars
      Delivering signs and dusting from their eyes

      A quiet and dreamy melodic piece that starts with some rhythmic piano player before ethereal vocals kick in with flute accompaniment. As the title would have you believe, it is concerning a UFO sighting. Apparently the song has a basis is true events as it relates a UFO sighting made several police officers on January 5, 2000. The song describes the sighting in a literal yet impressionistic style while symbolically tying the event to a religious experience, There seems to be some debate as to the interpretation, as I found at Song Meanings when I was researching the songs lyrics. From the forum on the site:
      I just got done watching a program about the first civilizations of earth, and how it is believed by some that alien beings came to earth and gave us a gentle push in the direction we are in now; Teaching us how to build, sow seeds, etc. Maybe this is a reference to that theory as well, that our first perception of God/s were an alien race. It was interesting to see how the mayans built pyramids of varying sizes on one sight, that from the air resembled our solar system, including one small structure that could've represented Pluto, allthough Pluto was discovered only 3 decades ago(and sadly is now not a planet).
      I see the biblical references, and I can tell Sufjan is most definitely a spiritual man, but I just thought I would throw this out there, since oddly enough I just got done watching the show.-enjoybradon February 24, 2008
      The whole comment thread over on the Song Meanings site is interesting and a good read with quite a few perspectives on the subjects of Christianity and UFO's.

      If all this has you intrigued, here is a amateur video a fan created for the song:




      If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.



      With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.

      Thanks!

      To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:
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      Its not a highway without gift shops. Visit ours:
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      Saturday, September 14, 2013

      Route 66 The Song

      I have several versions of the iconic Bobby Troupe hit Route 66 in my music collection. The Songfacts website shares the origins of the now timeless hit:

      Rick Busciglio of Memory Lane Presentations tells us: "At a party in Hollywood in the 1970's I was introduced to Mrs. Bobby Troup. I was very surprised with the introduction because I knew that Bobby Troup was married to a magnificent singer (and beauty) by the name of Julie London... and this lady was clearly not Julie London. First name Cynthia. This Mrs. Bobby Troup told me this tale about when she was the first wife of Troup: They were living modestly in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the end of World War II and Bobby Troup had decided that 'if I'm going to make it in the music business I've got to go to LA.' So they drive cross country to Los Angeles and while they motor on a long boring stretch of US Route 66, they play word games coming up with the lyrics to a song ('I get my kicks on route 66')... which, of course, was the classic 'Route Sixty-Six.' When they arrived in Los Angeles and rented a small apartment they were almost penniless. Bobby Troup set their lyrics to music, peddled it around and eventually convinced Johnny Mercer's new record company Capital to record it with their top star, Nat Cole. Within weeks after its release the song was a nationwide hit - in fact it reached #1. AND the royalties from this one song provided enough money to buy a house. A few years later, Troup produced Julie London's million selling hit record 'Cry Me A River.' He divorced Cynthia and married Julie five years later."
      When I look at the good old Wikipedia there are a lot more versions available to me. Many more than I have in my collection. Many of them I am familiar with and plan to use the Wikipedia list to add to my music collection. I'll get into that later, but for now here is what I have to work with. Links to purchase and to YouTube videos where possible will be included for your multimedia consumerist pleasure.
      Nat King Cole - The original and still one of the best versions out there. This has to open up the disc. Nat has a cool swinging vibe that just brings to my mind images of movement, neon, and wide open swinging American night where shadows of cacti are illuminated by the glare of truck headlights and neon motel signs blink their welcoming messages of air conditioning and easy vacancy. Of course, the haze of nostalgia blurs the memory that when this song was a hit, shamefully, Nat King Cole would have been facing segregation laws on much of the highway.

      As we continue down Route 66 I will intersperse other versions of the tune from my collection as well as acquisitions I pick up along the way. Next post we go to the Great State of Illinois where the highway began.





      If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.


      With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.

      Thanks!


      To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:
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      If you appreciate this blog and would like to drop a little something in my guitar case, you can donate on PayPay:
      Its not a highway without gift shops. Visit ours:
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      Saturday, September 7, 2013

      Illinois: An introduction and 2 tours of Route 66

      Illinois. It is the start of Route 66. I have never been there, so my experience of the state is just what I know from history, geography and popular culture. My apologies if my viewpoint is naive and cliche.

      Images of Illinois in my mind: The land of Lincoln, the heart of the Midwest, the shores of Lake Michigan, home to Chicago. Chicago! Stockyards, Sears, The Windy City,  the great fire, railroads, gangsters, the blues, political corruption, Mayor Daly, Lake Shore Drive, The Loop, The El, Da Bears, Da Bulls, The Blackhawks, White Sox and Cubs. Wrigley Field and heartbreak in September, cold beer and ivy covered walls, hot dogs with pickles and deep dish pizza. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, the great northward migration, and industry.

      Illinois has a lot of draw and I am sure at some point I will visit. But for now I will have to make my travel virtually. I found two clips that combine to give a feel for how the remnants of Route 66 are today.I hope you enjoy them. Discover Illinois throws out their pitch:



      Here is a homemade clip from that does a pretty good job of making you feel like you were driving the route. With a lot less time investment.



      Now that the scene is set the next post will FINALLY make it to the music. I bet you thought I would never get there.

      If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased.


      With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.

      Thanks!


      To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:
        photo 600px-US_66mid_zpsd2d7e6f4.png  photo 750px-US_101mid_zps4ac85a99.png
      http://oldhighwaynotes.blogspot.com/search/label/Interstate%2095
      If you appreciate this blog and would like to drop a little something in my guitar case, you can donate on PayPay:
      Its not a highway without gift shops. Visit ours:
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