Saturday, March 28, 2015

TODAY'S FEATURED ARTIST MARCH 28th: REDBONE

Redbone (band)

 

 

 


Redbone is a Native American/Mexican American rock group that was mostly active in the 1970s. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with the million-selling gold-certified single, "Come and Get Your Love", and achieved minor hits with "The Witch Queen of New Orleans" and "Maggie". They were the first Native American rock group to have a #1 single in the US and overseas.[1]

History

Originally born in Coalinga, California near Fresno, brothers Patrick (bass and vocals) and Candido "Lolly" Vasquez-Vegas (guitar and vocals) moved to Los Angeles in 1969 to form the group Redbone with mere cents in their pockets due to Pat winning one of the first singing competitions held by Coca-Cola.[citation needed] He won a recording contract and travel to create a career which he then put off to move to Los Angeles with his brother Lolly. They began playing local shows on Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, at local clubs like Gazzari's, as well as playing guitar and bass on legendary records from Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Sonny & Cher, plus many more.
The name Redbone itself is a Cajun term for a mixed-race person ("half-breed"), the band's members being of mixed blood ancestry.[1] The band referenced Cajun and New Orleans culture many times in their lyrics and performing style. Patrick and Lolly Vasquez - Vegas were a mixture of Yaqui, Shoshone Native American and Mexican heritage.[2] The brothers began by performing and recording surf music as the Vegas Brothers, "because their agent told them that the world was not yet ready to embrace a duo of Mexican musicians playing surfing music".[3] First as the Vegas Brothers (Pat and Lolly Vegas), then later as the Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band, they performed throughout the 1960s at venues on the Las Vegas Strip and appeared on Shindig![4][5]
According to Pat Vegas, it was Jimi Hendrix - himself part Cherokee - who talked the musicians into forming an all-Native American rock group, and they signed as the band "Redbone" to Epic Records in 1969. Jimi Hendrix also stated that Lolly Vegas was his favorite guitar player and biggest influence in music.[6] The band then consisted of Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas, Peter DePoe and Robert Anthony Avila, a Yaqui-Mexican American, better known by his stage name Tony Bellamy.[7] Their debut album Redbone was released in 1970.[8]
Prior to forming Redbone, Pat and Lolly Vegas released an album in the mid-1960s entitled Pat & Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House (Mercury MG 21059/SR 61059).[9] Of the twelve songs on the album, six were originals by the Vasquez-Vegas brothers which gained them huge initial success. Pat and Lolly also appeared religiously on the 60's hit show "Shindig" and reoccurring performers! They also released several singles from 1961 to the mid-1960s. One of them was titled "Robot Walk" / "Don't You Remember" (Apogee Records A-101) and more making a name for themselves in early years. In 1967 P.J. Proby recorded his only Top 30 hit "Niki Hoeky" by Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas and Pat Vegas. The next year, Bobbie Gentry performed the Cajun-influenced song on The Summer Smothers Brothers Show.[10][11]
Redbone played primarily rock music with R&B, Cajun, Jazz, tribal, and Latin roots. Their first commercial success came with the single "Maggie" from their second album, Potlatch, in 1970, and two other hit singles followed - "The Witch Queen of New Orleans" (1971, #21 on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Come and Get Your Love" (1974, #5 on the Billboard Hot 100). "Come and Get Your Love", written by Lolly Vegas, remained on the chart for 24 weeks, and was certified gold by the R.I.A.A. on April 22, 1974.[1]
Redbone's music was characterized by the Leslie rotating speaker effect that Lolly Vegas used for his electric guitar amplifier and a "King Kong" style of drumming developed by drummer Peter DePoe (born, 1943, Neah Bay, Washington). [12]

In 1973, Redbone released the politically oriented "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee", recalling the massacre of Lakota Sioux Indians by the Seventh Cavalry in 1890. The song ends with the subtly altered sentence "We were all wounded 'by' Wounded Knee". It charted in several European countries and reached the #1 position in The Netherlands but did not chart in the U.S. where it was initially withheld from release due to lyrical controversy and then banned by several radio stations due to its confrontation of a sore subject.[13] DePoe had left this band in 1972, and was eventually replaced by Bellamy's Filipino-Chicano cousin, Butch Rillera around that point. Following this the band achieved much of their commercial success. Tony Bellamy (guitar, piano and vocals) left the band in 1977, with Rillera leaving shortly after.[13][14] Bellamy died, at age 63 in a Las Vegas hospital on December 25, 2009, as the result of liver failure.[15]
The band's current remaining membership is led by Pat Vegas, although new members have joined Redbone in 1996 due to Lolly Vegas suffering a stroke that left him unable to tour with the band. Redbone has had some limited activity in recent years, but Pat Vegas continues to tour in Canada and the US. A proposed reunion tour in 2003 did not occur. There is evidence that suggests the existence of an "imposter band" (one of many who try to gain recognition) who was illegally touring the United States and posing as Redbone under the name (or alias) "Denny Freeman". Freeman - who Pat Vegas confirmed to be unaffiliated with Redbone in an interview with the Montana Standard - defrauded the county fair board of the Butte Silver-Bow County Fair in Butte, Montana, under pretenses of being a co-founding member of Redbone, yet he was never a band member.[16][17]
The first self-titled album by Redbone was released as a double album in North America. In Europe it was released both as a double (EPC 67242) and as a single album (BN 26280) on the Epic label.
Their third album, Message from a Drum, was released in Europe (except Spain) with the title The Witch Queen of New Orleans and different cover than the one released in the U.S. and Canada.
Redbone was inducted into the Native American Music Association Hall of Fame in 2008, as well as the NY Smithsonian in 2013.[citation needed] They were also honored with vein painted on the largest mural in the US in Fresno CA.[citation needed] On August 30, 2014 Pat Vegas was honored with the Lifetime Achievement "Legend" Award from the "West Coast American Indian Music Awards."[citation needed]
On December 25, 2009, Tony Bellamy died from liver failure at a hospital in his hometown of Las Vegas, and less than three months later, Lolly Vegas succumbed to lung cancer at his family home in Reseda, California on March 4, 2010.[18]
In 2014, "Come And Get Your Love" experienced a resurgence in popularity when it was featured in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy,[19] as one of the songs on a mixtape made for the protagonist, Peter Quill.[20] It was also included on the film's soundtrack album, which reached the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart.

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