Tuesday, April 05, 2005

 

The OTHER 50 . . . Lucky 13

Wondering what all this is about? Before you begin, you might want to read days one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve. The List so Far: Round 1: Hockey: Jane Siberry (Mike) Helpless: Neil Young (Keith) I Go Blind: 54-40 (Peter) Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes (Aaron) Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes (Carol) A Case of You: Joni Mitchell (Carl) Round 2: Have Not Been The Same: Slow (Mike) Hallelujah (Live): Leonard Cohen (Keith) Wheat Kings: The Tragically Hip (Pete) Vetoed By Carol Subdivisions: Rush (Carol) Vetoed By Keith Rags and Bones: Nomeansno (Carl) Round 3: One Great City!: The Weakerthans (Mike) Westray: Weeping Tile (Keith) Vetoed By Pete Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan (Pete) Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Aaron) I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow (Carol) Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer (Carl) Round 4: Help Me Rhonda: The Langley Schools Music Project (Mike) Vetoed By Pete Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith (Aaron) (FC's note: Actually Aaron's Round 2 Catch Up Pick!) Daylight: The Nils (Keith) Barrett's Privateers: Stan Rogers (Pete) Vetoed By Mike War in Peace: Skip Spence(Aaron) Vetoed By Carol Static: Terrible Canyons of Static; Chart #3; World Police and Friendly: Godspeed You Black Emperor! (Carol) What About Me?: The Nihilist Spasm Band (Carl) Round 5: Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson (Mike) Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners (Keith) Little Girl: Death From Above 1979 (Pete) Brian Wilson (Live): The Barenaked Ladies (Aaron) Vetoed By Carl In today's hackneyed polemic: Is Elvis alive and, if so, what happened to Sinead O'Conner? Love the OTHER 50? HATE the OTHER 50? Is it a travesty that Don Messer's not on the list? Be sure to leave a comment. Keith: Is anyone else watching the Junos? Anyone else surprised they gave the "Best New Artist" to the right artist. Anyone else think kd Lang looks like Elvis? Anyone else wondering if I should be flattered or embarrassed that the two songs she sang were my first and second nomination for The OTHER 50. Anyone? Carol: Nope. Never do. I only watch the Oscars. Better dresses :) Peter: That was a really lame spot by k-os. He stripped everything good from B-Boy Stance. Keith: kd convinced me again, Hallelujah is the best song ever written by a Canadian. Peter: She looked like she'd swallowed Sinead O'Connor. Carol: Sinead has a more interesting voice. Professional jealousy? Peter: And she's just generally more interesting. Carol: Speaking of interesting, after reading Carl's essay, I was expecting more out of the NSB. I am NOT vetoing it, but I must say I don't know what the fuss is about. Intellecutalize all you want, the track sounded like a homeless man standing too close to a busker. Couldn't you pick something better? Or was this representative? With rock luminaries singing their praises, I was hoping for something to pique my interest. I remain unpiqued. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean they shouldn't be on the list, if for only unsung influence. Just pass me the earplugs. Keith: For my part, I've decided to stay my hand and not drop the v-bomb on the NSB just yet. I do this, not because I think the track is of any musical merit (it clearly isn't to me) but partially because it's short enough to not to leave me screaming in discomfort (at least it's not 15 minutes long) and because I'm buying the influence arguement. (Plus, that bass player kinda looks like Santa and how can you say anything bad about Santa) More importantly, however, I think someone else will drive a stake in it and save me the vote. Over to you, Mike. Mike: I am tap dancing around vetoing the NSB, mostly because I really don't get it, didn't really like it and don't see anything meritous (or even "ha ha" funny) about it (yeah, it's funny, but not that kind of funny). What would be funny is if my dad were to start a noise band like NSB, although knowing my family we'd be looking at assisted housing options for the old boy pretty quickly. He does do a killer version of Kansas City ("They got some mighty pretty women and I'm gonna get me one...") that might be of interest to an avant-gard noise label in Japan as it's pretty much just variations on that one line (sometimes the woman are crazy, sometimes they're little - it's a grab bag really). But mostly I'm contemplating a veto because, well to paraprhase the Big Lebowski - "Nihilsts! Jesus. Say what you will about the tenets of Rush and prog rock, but at least they stood for something." Maybe I'm looking for too much to for music to maybe have a beat or a melody, or a key, or some type of structure...I don't know, I'm firmly on the fence on this one... Peter: If the putative value of a song is merely archival, then should it be on the list? Should there not be some expectation that a piece is actually rewarding to hear in some way, that it's good enough that you want to hear it again and again? Or, if you don't like it, that you at least understand why somebody else wants to hear it again? Carl: Did I ever say the value was solely archival? Don't get me wrong, I like to listen to this stuff, and so do other people - the NSB is getting more and more popular with "the kids" because of the recent upsurge in popularity of noise-rock, and is getting a lot of invitations to play (which they can't always take up, due to health issues and the like). Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) said of late NSB bassist Hugh McIntyre: "All these people who sort of put themselves on stage and want to be super rock stars, there's no way they can ever attain the majesty that Hugh has on stage." REM joined the band for a Monday-night session as recently as November. There are those of us who enjoy it! My other arguments were just to suggest to the members of this group, who mostly said they didn't like it, why it might fit on the list anyway. Peter: That answers my rhetorical questions. Keith: Man is this difficult. I've always been one to say "There's no such thing as 'bad' genres of music, just genres where I haven't heard the right song yet" and maybe such is the case with experimental, improvisational noise. If I'm not going to be so closed minded as to cut the genre off entirely, I should probably make room for the "grandaddys" of the business, especially if they're Canadian . . . right? Well, what if the song itself makes me want to harm myself, and/or others? Carl, if you'd left the nomination as I'm a Real Nice Fellow I would have no hesitation in spiking it. That track is not only nearly unlistenable, but it's so long as to be unignorable as well. (Un)fortunately, What About Me comes and goes so quickly it doesn't have time to do its damage. I get a mental image of hearing it, wondering what's wrong with the CD player and the track ending before I get the chance to stand up and give the amp a firm whack. So here I sit wondering if - as Pete said -- "historical/archival significance" is enough? I'll put it a different way than Peter did: If someone on the street came up to you and said "How could you have let What About Me stay and not have included my favourite song?" the only defence I'd be left with -- assuming their favourite song didn't suck -- is "They're big in Japan, and Thurston Moore thinks they're cool." Sorry, not enough for me. (or should I say NOT ENOUGH FOR ME! NOT ENOUGH FOR ME! NOT ENOUGH FOR ME!!!) I appreciate your well argued defence, and your passion Carl, but . . . Veto. Carl: Damn! Now I have to go start the "OTHER OTHER 50 Tracks." Keith: Yeah, that way there'll be room for Chalk Circle, Eight Seconds and William Shatner. Peter: There you go, dissing Bill Shatner again. Keith: You're up again, Carl, if you'd like to give it another shot. Carl: Buffy Sainte-Marie Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (Coincidence and Likely Stories, 1991) Where the most crucial American racial divide has been black and white, the primary racial tension within Canada is between aboriginal people and us boat people who make up the majority. French-English tensions may get more play, but the really deep ugly stuff in most of this country has to do with native people. Conditions on reserves remain the worst blot on Canada's self-image as a caring and tolerant society. Yet while American culture at least has seen an incredible creative dividend from the exchange and conflict between black and white cultures, especially in music, the same isn't true of Canadian culture and native cultures. The effects are somewhat evident in our visual arts, occasionally in drama and literature, but not often in popular music. You could make a case that native culture has some influence over the ways we write and sing about nature and society - I'd love to read about what Neil Young says on the subject, for instance. It may be the shamanic role isn't totally absent from the classic Canadian eccentric-poet-songwriter lineage. But for the most part, natives show up in pop culture as exceptional cases. While there's now an aboriginal-music Juno and even a whole separate awards ceremony, most non-native Canadians are unaware of the huge amount of musical activity on reserves, from country and blues to hip-hop to traditional ceremonial music. Still, there have been some successes - folksinger Willie Dunn (I really considered nominating his song about Louis Riel but decided I couldn't quite stand up for it musically), Robbie Robertson's post-Band work, Susan Agulark, Kashtin, and most recently the powerful Lucie Idlout. Who paved the way for all of them? A Saskatchewan-born Cree woman, Buffy Sainte-Marie - and not just in Canada. She is an icon for aboriginal people in the States and around the world. Most of us probably first encountered her on Sesame Street, where she says her message to children was a very simple one: “Real Indians still exist.” With her music she’s sent the same message to adults who shouldn’t have needed to learn it, but did. As a dual citizen, she has been a galvanizing and generous influence making a place for native culture throughout North America. CBC’s 50 Tracks nominated Sainte-Marie'’s “The Universal Soldier,” a song that was embraced by the 1960s peace movement, but there are three problems with that - first, it’s kind of a song any sixties folkie could have written, with no particularly distinct native perspective; second, it’s politically suspect, heaping blame for wars on the soldiers who fight them (a moral and tactical mistake that would help create the backlash against the anti-war movement among many Americans that is still going on today!); and third, though effective, it’s kind of mawkish and treacly. So I’d like to talk about Sainte-Marie'’s comeback after more than a decade away from music in 1991, when she shocked folkie fans with an album of highly produced songs with heavy beats, drawing on native music but also her enthusiasm for technology as a cultural and political tool. (The whole disc was recorded at home on a Mac - not a common thing 14 years ago!) Coincidence and Likely Stories also presented a much angrier Sainte-Marie than most listeners had come to expect, reflecting her bitter disappointment that the promise of the native American Indian Movement (AIM) of the sixties and seventies was still mostly unrealized, due to the FBI program to defeat it, the constant corporate push to take over reserves’ natural resources and, in Canada, the constant dithering over land claims settlements. While these issues affect each country differently, Sainte-Marie and many native people regard them more or less as one - after all, their original nations weren't divided along the border. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a song that speaks directly to that story, referring to the infamous battles between AIM and the FBI at the Pine Ridge reservation village of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, in 1973 and 1975, that marked the end of the movement and led to the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, to whom the song is dedicated. The song is intemperate, conspiracy minded and wild - and those are all good things, now and then, in a song raging over injustice. It’s less a protest song than a howl of pain - it aims not to convince listeners of a position but to convey a horror. The harsh vibrato in Sainte-Marie’s voice - a sticking point for some folks with her music, I realize - has never seemed more appropriate. And it rocks with (literally) a vengeance. It’s also sorely wrong on one point - it refers to “my girlfriend Annie Mae,” meaning the Nova Scotia-born Micmac activist and AIM leader Anna Mae Aquash, who was found dead with a bullet in her head while hiding out from federal charges at Pine Ridge in 1976. It was long assumed she was killed by federal agents, but since Sainte-Marie wrote the song it’s emerged that Aquash was probably killed by AIM insurgents who believed her to be an informant. If so the murder shows how desperate the struggle had become there and how successfully the FBI’s COINTELPRO program had divided the activists against themselves. I think the revelation makes the heartbreak in the song even more stinging. Sainte-Marie is the rare artist who can bring these concerns somewhere close to the mainstream - after all, she’s also a songwriter who can pen a huge hit such as Up Where We Belong. Canada ought to have many more songs like this and singers like her. Indeed, the fact that we don’t, in itself, seems like a grim testimony. But we do have Buffy Sainte-Marie, and let’s never bury that. Mike: Sticking with the what if members of my family were in a recording studio analogies, this makes me think of what you'd get if one of my crazy aunts tried to cover (or mock) If-I-had-a-rocket-launcher-era Bruce Cockburn. Neko Case does a mean cover of Buffy's Soulful Shade of Blue - there's a 2 birds one stone combo just waiting for us to pluck... Carol: Michael, you read my mind :) Keith: Carl, good justification for Buffy. Do you have any response to the beefs about the production on this track (I have to agree with Mike in his contention that it does sound somewhat dated)? It won't receive a veto from me. Carl: Well, I think dated production is inevitable - it's not like Fresh Wes and 54-40 and the Diodes don't sound dated - hell, damn near any track on the list you could probably nail the date of its production within 5 years just by listening. But I actually find the production on this track admirable, or at least endearing, precisely because it adopted some techniques from dance music and the like that you weren't expecting to hear on a folk-rock record in 1991 - I mean, hell, Billy Bragg wasn't doing it. Nowadays such a meld is commonplace, but then it was just a touch pioneering. And the way that she translated the dominance of the drum in native music into the pop dominance of the drum machine - without sounding too much like some "Sounds of the Rainforest" trance techno track or similar post-exotica - is cool too. It's kind of a middle-aged-woman-with-a -laptop version of punk DIY. Typical Canadian cottage-and- basement-industry stuff, but exported to Sainte-Marie's global-citizen bungalow in Hawaii. Keith: FWIW, Carl, I think Fresh Wes is so genre breaking as to defy time, space and most of the laws of thermodynamics . . . but then again I'm on some SERIOUS medication. Mike: When we first started this little project, I drew up a quick list of artists that I might nominate and Buffy Sainte Marie was one of them. Admittedly, I don't own any of her music and would be hard pressed to name half-a-dozen of her songs, but she is one of those big names of Canadian music, I mean - she sang on Tears Are Not Enough. So I actually sat down and started listening to her stuff looking for something I could get behind. And I listened, and I fast forwarded and I skipped through tracks and I listened some more and, well...um, I'm glad Carl nominated her. I'm going to fall back on the Mitchell plan on this one: respect the artist, understand her importance, agree she should be on the list - but I just don't dig the tune(s). On the other issue, I don't think dated production is inevitable. The Nomeansno track that was nominated has aged very well, I don't think you can narrow that track down to a five year window - it could have been recorded last year by some punk ass mall group or it could be nearly 20 years old. Likewise with Have Not Been the Same, by Slow and the 54-40. I think innovators can make music that is almost timeless - Swordfishtrombones certainly doesn't sound like 1983 to me. On a Canadian note, Bruce Cockburn's stuff from the early 70s still sounds great and really could have been recorded at any time over the last 30 years. Conversely, his stuff from the 80s with bad synth could only be from one time period. Endearing could be one word for dated synth based production, but it wouldn't be the one I'd choose. Peter: I'm with you. I'm not tremendously moved, but I recognize her place. As for Cockburn, he's an excellent example on dated sound. Wonderin Where the Lions Are could have been written yesterday: that rocket launcher song is tragically '80s. Carl: I just don't see this as a value, I guess. I like datedness. I like the way Louis Armstrong records from 1928 sound, you know? I like to feel time, palpably, in music. Timelessness, like placelessness, isn't a term of praise to me. Mike: That's a really interesting perspective and one I hadn't considered. Like terroir in wine - I like stuff to taste of a place not a confected thing that could have been produced anywhere by anyone. I always consider being dated as a pejorative thing - mostly because it's a term I tend to apply to stuff recorded in the 80s and 90s with bad synth and really glossy production. I guess a more accurate term, once more to borrow from the world of wine, is music that has aged well and music that hasn't...I guess I need to come up with a more accurate description or a better word. Keith: Mike, that sounds like a good segue into your next pick. Mike: (Listen to Blues for Pablo) The track I've chosen is called Blues for Pablo. Written and arranged by Gil Evans. Evans was elected into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1987 and is best known for his collaborations with Miles Davis in the late 1940s and 1950s. Evans wrote all of the arrangements on the seminal album Birth of the Cool - a recording that launched the whole west coast / cool jazz scene. The two of them followed up with three more albums - Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. Evans' brought an orchestral approach to bop – providing a smooth, almost dispassionate (or at least, less frantic), intimate sound from a rather large group of players. Blues for Pablo foreshadows the direction Evans and Miles would take on their final recording together Sketches of Spain. Carl: Yes!!!! Keith: Is silence consent on Mike's pick? Does no one want to say anything bad about Miles Davis (dopefiend!) Great pick, Mike. We're reaching the halfway point, the point at which I can start making my picks with an eye as to what's missing from the list. One of the first things I see is a complete lack of music in the country's OTHER official language.
This presents a problem. I'm neither terribly fond of nor familiar with the chansons tradition of the 60s and 70s and I find many of the mainstream rock acts out of Quebec (Les Colocs, and Les Cowboys Fringant are the first two acts that pop into my head) to be major players in a horrific future history where Moxy Fruvous became sovereignists and discover African drums. I am 100 percent sure that there's tonnes of good non-chanson, non-dirty hippy at the les tam tams rock being recorded in French in La Belle Province, but the stuff I've heard and liked leans toward very entertaining hard rock (Le Nombre, Les Breastfeeders and La Descente Du Coude are fun, but difficult to advocate) and questionable hip hop (Dubmatique. . . cummon down!) So, then, where's a guy to turn? Why to Franco Ontario, of course, and Daniel Lanois' O Marie. Listen to O Marie OK, before you accuse me of trying to start a worker's revolution, yes this is the third of my six selections so far that features manual labour. It also features something uniquely Canadian: Joual. Over a simple driving rhythm that clearly evokes the grey skies in Ontario tobacco country Lanois tells a simple workers story that wouldn't seem out of place on a Bruce Springsteen record. When the foreman comes by, the protagonist is forced to beg in English, but until then, and after, his observations are as simple as the french used to describe them. ("Oui ma blonde attend aprés moi . . . mes mains sont noir a charbon . . . On travail au tabac, asti") If Sudbury Saturday Night is Canada's Sixteen Tonnes, then O Marie is French Canada's Tillsonburg. It's Canadian (it couldn't have come from anywhere else) and it belongs.
Peter: Well, that means I can't bring in The Maker. Damn it Keith: Pete, two points: 1) We don't have an all out ban on there being two songs by one artist, but I think you might be hard pressed to justify it to the gang. 2) The Maker/Whole Lot of Love to Give might be better songs on some levels (it's hard to argue with that bass sound in The Maker, for example) but I think the use of the Francais elevates O Marie to listworthyness. Peter: Oh, I got nothing against your pick. It's a great song. Mike: I really dig the production on this album, there's such a nice, warm, rich reverb that creates a really intimate sound. Tilsonburg? Mes dos tojours maux quand j'ecoute ce mot (or something like that...) Keith: I'm no translator, but I'd go with J'suis encore mal a dos, quand j'entend cette mot (it even rhymes!) Carl: I'd almost use our earlier conversations about timelessness and placelessness as a bridge into vetoing Daniel Lanois, but I don't have any time to make the argument or even to think through whether I want to do it. Keith: Normally, as a good moderator, I'd say "As soon as you have time, I'd love to hear your opinion" but since the outcome of such encouragement might be damaging to me I'm left to say . . . Does anyone ELSE have an opinion on the Lanois track? No? Maybe later? OK Pete, over to you. Peter: (Listen to Can't You See) Earlier I alluded to bringing up the issue of "Canadian-ness" again, and here goes. Can't You See was a massive hit – in the Maritimes, at least - when it was released by the Matt Minglewood Band in the late '70s. I'm not sure how many other people were unaware at the time that it was, tecnhnically speaking, a cover of a song by southern rockers the Marshall Tucker Band: not that anybody in Eastern Canada cared, for Minglewood, a hard-living Cape Breton rocker at that time still on the rise, had turned what had been a generic and mediocre boogie rock ballad into an epic for his Canadian homeland, into a certified anthem of downeast disillusionment. That's why it solidly deserves a place on this list. Matt Minglewood was the first rock star from the Maritimes. At least, he was the first to prove that you could write kick-ass rock and roll songs about the Maritimes and be successful doing it. He had a string of original, homegrown hits – be it a blistering rocker about the long drag of being away from the Maritimes on the road (East Coast Blues), a moody tale of a life of bad choices leading to a notorious New Brunswick penitentiary (Dorchester), a boyuant Saturday night shout-out to his partying fans (Whiz Kids), or a simple rock and roll song that showed what a brilliant guitar player he was (Rockin' the Blues). So why bring his one cover tune to the mix? Well, because it brought him to prominence, and it has a place in the Martime heart alongside such cultural touchstones as the movie Going Down the Road or the novel For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down. Minglewood used Tucker's work as a starting point, pushing the song in directions it was never intended to go. Indeed, you're three minutes into the song before you hear much written by Tucker. Minglewood reconceived the thing, grandly added a melancholy spoken-word intro that cast what had previously been written in a whole new light. "This, is definitely a song about loneliness, let's just a farm boy from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia," he begins, a line that told a lot of cars full of young Maritimers out "drivin' around" on Friday night that they were about to hear music that spoke to them, that understood them, unlike just about every other thing they heard on the radio. Sure, there was lots of good music on the radio "from away" (def: the entire known galaxy outside the Maritimes), but this truly was different. What every Maritimer understood was Minglewood's sad tale of a Cape Breton boy who had gone down the road to the big city, as generations of eastern boys did and still do. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it ends in broken dreams. Minglewood's guy had it all going for him – a swish apartment ("apartment 2505, you know the kind I mean"), a good union job, a good woman. Then one day she leaves him ("Man like that, see his whole world fall right down in front of his face.") He finds himself down at the station, shattered, looking for somewhere to go, anywhere but home ("there's something about a country boy, he doesn't like to go home a failure") It's then that Tucker's original lyrics appear "I'm gonna take a freight train, down at the station lord, I don't care where it goes . . . " Everybody, from everyplace, knows the pull of home, but there's something different about living on the outskirts of the nation, and it's never been captured more poignantly than it was when Matt Minglewood turned a song we'd never heard into the anthem of our generation. Minglewood's own story is, at times, a sad tale of its own. He had such potential in the late 70s and early 80s. His stage show was electrifying. I saw him once at UPEI in the fall of 1980, and I still vividly remember him ripping out the guitar bits in East Coast Blues while a roadie pushed him through the ecstatic crowd on a wheeled gear box. He was wearing a Flyers jersey, shorts, cowboy boots and a Stetson, and boy howdy could he play that guitar. But the party road life got the better of him: a legendary show in Charlottetown a few years later ended after a few minutes when Matt, who, it was reliably said, had spent the day partying hard with the boys up at the Harley Club, literally fell off the stage during the first song. Then he disappeared, it seemed, for a long time, though he was still back in Cape Breton, a certified cultural hero, making music. He's still touring, and I saw him a few years ago at Barrymore's one shitty weeknight. There were about 20 people there – I think it was 20 expat Capers and me – and he put on a hell of a show. Everybody there was buying the band drinks – I bought a round and sent them up – and everybody had an incredible time. He's older and wiser now, and he's still a brilliant guitar player. He still tours. You should go see him. End note of particular interest to this list: As I write this I'm flying home to Ottawa. When I flew down last Saturday the seat next to me on the flight from Dorval was filled by an old friend, who I hadn't seen in six years. He works at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, and he was telling me about a new show there for this summer, Canada Rocks. It's a revival, so to speak, that follows a musical journey across Canada, featuring classic bits of Canadian Rock. "They just hired Minglewood for the band," my buddy told me. No word on whether the Can-rock classics will include Can't You See, or anything else by Minglewood, but it should. Even with it's "from away" roots, it speaks to a region of Canada in a way that few rock songs have. Keith: Pete, tell me, is this track dated or has it not aged well (sounds like Joe Cocker to me)? Gotta love the Hammond, though. Buy Buffy Sainte Marie's Coincidence and Likely Stories Buy The Best of Miles Davis and Gil Evans Buy Daniel Lanois' Acadie Buy The Matt Minglewood Band's One Caper After Another There's more and more rock n' roll goodness in The OTHER 50 DAY FOURTEEN!
Comments:
I wish carl would go start "The Other Other 50 tracks" If you got rid of Carl you would have a fine looking list.
 
Anon,

I don't agree. I liked Simply Saucer a lot and Joni most certainly belongs on the list.

NSB is obviously not for everyone (or for me, for that matter) but I think the list is looking pretty good so far.

Look, we're half way through:

Hockey: Jane Siberry
Helpless: Neil Young
I Go Blind: 54-40
Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes
Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes
A Case of You: Joni Mitchell
Have Not Been The Same: Slow
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen
Rags and Bones: Nomeansno
One Great City!: The Weakerthans
Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan
Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow
Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer
Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith
Daylight: The Nils
Static...: Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson
Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners
Little Girl: Death From Above 1979
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Buffy Sainte Marie
Blues for Pablo: Gil Evans with Miles Davis
O Marie: Daniel Lanois
Can't You See: The Matt Minglewood Band
New York City: The Demics

As Pete would say "I can get behind that"
 
Personally, I'm one of those who loves everything Buffy St. Marie's ever written (yet I can't stand Joni Mitchell's voice), so she could read a phone book and I'd be entertained.
But I don't think Wounded Knee is the best representation. If you want angry, bitter protest songs, I think "My Country tis of thy People You're Dying" is a much more solid choice. Followed by "Co'dine", just because it rocks.
 
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