Archie James Cavanaugh – Black and White Raven

This is the first in a series of blog posts about indigenous American music.

Archie James Cavanaugh can certainly claim to have had a major label release on A&M in 1980 with an album entitled Black and White Raven. The fine print is that the label released the record only in Alaska. Cavanaugh is a member of the South Alaskan Tlingit tribe and his superb performances have survived the tests of time, one of which always seems to require emerging from the shroud of obscurity known as “non-promotion.”

What makes Black and White Raven stand out is the band. They aren’t just accomplished session musicians, they’re a seasoned unit that plays well together and knows each other’s strengths. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and it makes a joyful track like “Make Me Believe” more than a love song. This may be by design; a few songs later it resonates with a higher power on “Light Unto the World,” as catchy a piece of gospel soul as you’ve ever heard.

 This album/CD is dedicated to Jesus Christ, ax Dikée Aankáawoo (Tlingit for my Heavenly Father). -Archie James Cavanaugh



The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights

Cover of "Under Great White Northern Ligh...
Cover of Under Great White Northern Lights

The music of our heart has always been intrigued with the live concert experience known as The White Stripes. I purchased their video, The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights on Amazon Instant Video today. I was motivated to do so because Consequence of Sound, the online music publication posted an influential article, “Best Ten Concert Films Since 2000” that crossed my Facebook stream.

Here is what Carson O’Shoney, Senior Staff Writer authored about the film. His sentimental words captured my soul.

Under Great White Northern Lights is one of the most emotionally touching concert films of any era. While the crew was filming The White Stripes during their Canadian summer tour of 2007, they never could have known that they would capture the band near the end of their rope. The fact that the film didn’t come out until years later– after Meg White reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown and the band went on what ended up being a permanent hiatus– only adds to its poignancy.

It’s not all emotionally charged footage, though. The live portions show the Stripes at the height of their performative prowess, and the various mini-shows in random places around Canada show their lighter side. The film remains the Jack & Meg White show throughout, as some of the most compelling footage simply comes from the duo backstage– especially the closing moments of the film. As Jack plays a version of “White Moon” on piano, he leaves Meg in tears. It’s the perfect encapsulation of one of our generation’s greatest bands near the end of their life together, simultaneously thrilling and heartbreaking. Regardless of whether or not the White Stripes ever play together again, Under Great White Northern Lights will live on as one of the best concert films of our– or any other– generation. If it truly is the end of the Stripes, we’re all lucky that we were left with this. – Copyright 2007-2014 Consequence of Sound

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Manassas – Stephen Stills and Friends


Rolling Stone Magazine posed the weekend question yesterday, What is your favorite double album? My answer was The Beatles (album), a.k.a. The White Album. 


I have added thoughts about other favorite double albums in my collection. The album Manassas from Stephen Still‘s band in the early 70s plays strongly in the music of our heart.



I’ve always found Manassas to be a pleasurable, well-flowing recording. What I love the most about Manassas is how the music gels as the four sides play out. The assembled musicians follow each other in a natural groove that builds into polyrhythms that envelop the listener.


Manassas has been relegated over time to the status of an overlooked and forgotten album in the annals of rock. The band was an intuitive, collaborative nucleus who knitted together cohesive sound. Along with the band members listed on the début album cover above, added people included Byron Berline (fiddle), Bill Wyman (bass) and Jerry Garcia (pedal steel guitar). Bill Wyman was reported as saying that he would have left the Stones to join Manassas.


I found an interesting video segment of Manassas on YouTube. Like many of the 70’s videos I have watched it was filmed and broadcast on Beat-Club for German television. It has held up well over time capturing the band live before Manassas was released in April 1972. I like witnessing Chris Hillman playing guitar and sharing vocals with Stephen Stills. There is a magic between that works effectively. My favorite song by Manassas is, “It Doesn’t Matter” which appears on the video.






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Once Upon A Dream – The Rascals, Mohegan Sun Casino Arena, 8/30/13

My favorite American rock and roll band is The Rascals. They are the band of my youth. I bought every LP they recorded. When I look back The Rascals dominated my collection and hi-fi phonograph 🙂

Thanks to Steven Van Zandt and his wife Maureen, The Rascals are performing together once again in the BioConcert, Once Upon A Dream.

My wife and I were fortunate to see the inception of The Rascals BioConcert at the rock hall we’ve always loved, The Capitol Theatre in Portchester, NY on December 15, 2012. It was an incredible night to see our heroes performing together. Off to our left was Steven Van Zandt absorbed in watching the production. He is the ultimate fan and his influence with the four Rascals was instrumental in their reformation.

We are excited to have a second opportunity to see The Rascals in Once Upon A Dream for free by invitation at Mohegan Sun Casino Arena. It is a rewarding feeling to receive this honor especially when Mohegan Sun is our number one concert venue. We have seen more concerts at Mohegan Sun than anywhere else.  The Capitol Theatre is our second most attended venue  and where our love affair with rock music took root 😉

American Epic – The first time America heard itself

Jack White and T Bone Burnett are producing a documentary about the American recording industry during the 1920s and 1930s.

The film, which Burnett says is co-produced by Robert Redford and the BBC, will be called American Epic. It is an ambitious project that has been seven years in the making.


American Epic is a multi-media arts project based around the history of American music, which includes a documentary series, a worldwide concert tour, music releases, a book, an exhibition, and an educational outreach program.
Allison McGourty is the creator, producer and co-writer of American Epic.  Bernard MacMahon is the creator, director and writer of American Epic. Together they co-founded Lo-Max Films and launched the independent label Lo-Max Records.


Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship

The trajectory of Jefferson Airplane has produced a very solid flight path across three+ decades of rock and roll.

Legacy Recordings has reissued a double CD, The Essential Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship, which covers the hits and popular tracks from these various bands from 1966 to 1989

It’s a nice music collection to have handy if you are a fan of any permeation of this group. You get a real sense of the (r)evolution of their sound as they kept current with the times, the fashions etc.

I find myself growing fond of this track from Jefferson Starship’s Spitfire

Andy Warhol’s The Factory – Men In Black 3

I saw Men In Black 3 last night. My favorite sequence was when they went back in time to Andy Warhol’s The Factory. Bill Hader of SNL fame portrays Andy Warhol. Wouldn’t you just love to have been part of that experience for just a little while, witnessing The Velvet Underground with Lou Reed?

Bill Hader as Andy Warhol in Men in Black 3 (2012)