Buffalo Grass

All that remains of Ned's music.

These tracks are all that remain of the music of "Ned Christie and the Last Cherokee Deadbeats". Ned has a way of editing his life down. At least he kept the best ones. We've just edited down the last old page of tracks for this one. Kind of a record for posterity of Ned's constant reduction to perfection. All tracks released under Creative Commons 4.0 SA-BY.


From "Medicine Crow"

Out the Screen Door: Ned was playing quietly. So we thought we would do what he usually does and make the percussion as unpredictable as possible. Ned wasn't impressed. He just kept grinning and shaking his head the whole time. But we're pretty proud of the whole thing. 
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Boopin' in the Brush: "Boopin'" was the word Leonard chose. When he refused to define it, Ned said that was reason enough to use it. This was about the first song we ever played enough to be able to repeat when someone asked to hear it. Before this, we just gave Ned a free rein and tried to keep up.
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Nicotine got the Boy: People think this is Ned's voice at the end of the song. Actually, it's just some Acid loop we cut up and worked into the recording. Ned doesn't even smoke.
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Buffalo Bladders: This is the first track where we actually tried to control the mixing of the different tracks and to control where the sounds seem to come from. And we messed up pretty bad. The guitars get all screwed up and jump around in a way that is embarassing. Ned wonders why we bothered. And Carlito threatened us with ExLax in our food if we messed with his track at all. We left it alone - we swear.
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Prairie Looner: This is the one Ned was happiest with. He said he did justice to Eagle Bone Boy. Eagle Bone Boy said it wasn't bad but that he didn't understand why Ned had to play something that was plugged into the wall. He told Ned not to spend too much time indoors.
Track 10

Falling from America: Billy Has-Feathers wrote the poem and reads it here for us. He told us the title came from a riff he heard Ned play once that sounded like a woman crying out: "Falling from America." But no matter how he tried, he couldn't describe it well enough so that Ned could play it for us all.
Track 8

Enough of Ya'lls White Noise: I love this song and so does Ned. We got a bunch of Sarah's relatives to come into the diner and chant for us. We told them to pretend they were Navajo, no offense intended. Ned does some stuff here that we only believe when we watch him do it. He can't do this whole thing live the way it is here, though. He laid down three tracks for this cut. The best part is where he makes his guitar talk and shut up, talk and shut up, like nothing we ever heard before we were in the middle of making this. Sarah told him she wanted to have his guitar's children.
Track 12

Playin' by Myself: This is the song Sarah shines on. She laid down track after track, building up a mountain of rhythm under Ned's music. They always stand right next to each other when they play this in public.
Track 9

Magpie: Ned won't usually explain his music. But he told us he had gone through Utah once - at high speed, he said, to blur out the Mormons - and had first seen magpies there along the river bottoms. He said the only trees in Utah that weren't in the mountains were the cottonwoods along the rivers. Ned says this song will let you see, if you close your eyes, the magpies flying in and out of the cottonwood trees in the long light of early spring.
Track 4

Cowboys and Indians: The night before this song got written, Ned was in a fight with Joe Lon. We're pretty sure it was over the relative merits of Coors and Shiner beer and that both parties had been drinking a little. They must have come to a friendly conclusion because we found them creating this song the next morning with black eyes and some blood on their shirts. This song is kind of a fight in itself but Joe Lon agreed that the Indians should come out the other end of it with everything they started with. Little Waney does a kind of soldier thing on one of the drums that Leonard wasn't using and he and Leonard were whacking each other with the drumsticks every time we took a break. We love a good fight.
Track 1

From "Slow-Elk Bar-B-Q"

Cheesebox: A Cheesebox is one of those round wooden boxes that cheese used to come in, turned into a drum. Pezuta has this thing for the Cheesebox and this is really just an excuse for him to whang away on one for three minutes. We get people asking whether Ned is on the left or the right track. Ned says that sounds like a white man's question. He says this is the union of two guitars and a union doesn't have any sides. Sam says he played the near side and Ned was way off on the Other Side beyond human ken. Ned chucked an ashtray at him.
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Hog Dance: We were waiting at a stop light in ---------, Oklahoma across from a WalMart. The three of us were in the front with Sarah driving and Ned was laying down in the back seat. Sarah pointed at the front of WalMart and wondered why everyone coming out was about two hundred pounds overweight. We were commenting on the obvious uselessness of diet soda and light potato chips when Ned sat up. "Y'all be nice," he said. "They're just having a Hog Dance." And then he said, "I wonder what kind of music they play at a Hog Dance...?"
Track 2

Nopalito: Prickly pear - the cactus. There's a thing Ned does about four times in here where he has no respect for normal rhythm and does what his heart tells him to. And it made the three of us mad because we couldn't keep up with him. It was like he whipped around a curve and we always got slung out of the car. When we tried to call him on it, he said: What kind of people expect to play with a nopalito and not get stuck?
Track 5

Spirits in the Ground: Pezuta wanted to talk to the spirits with this one. He often goes through the Pine Ridge reservation when he travels just so he can sit and think near the burial mound at Wounded Knee. He likes to think about why white men make movies about this mound but never film it. They always build one of their own. Pezuta says he likes to think about the holy men that used to be able to sense the dead down in the ground. Ned says the Lakota are always thinking about death and the dead. He says there are enough live Indian things to do without spending time on dead Indian things. I think Ned is trying to stir up the spirits by making them mad. I think he would like to see a real spirit in this world. Good luck.
Track 7

Old Men Die: Even when you don't want them to. The digeridoo is played by Sean Winters. Sean is a crazy white man we found sleeping in his car behind the cafe. He also plays the bass saxaphone but it makes his big black dog, Oso, (and Ned) howl.
Track 6

Roadkill: Ned plays guitar just like he drives.
Track 11

Chokeberry Jam: Ned runs the blues through his own heart. But he hasn't heard much blues beyond the stuff you get on the radio. His brother, who lives in South Texas and works up on top of an oil rig, came through not long ago and left Ned a homemade tape he had made of a blues guitar man from Louisiana. Ned couldn't believe how slow the music was played. He said the tape showed how much a man could say with a guitar. 
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Moondog Walk: Ned woke me up a couple weeks ago in the middle of the night. He was playing an old guitar outside my window. Pezuta was whanging his cheesebox and Sarah has a couple of rattles in each hand. I stuck my sleepy head out the window and asked them what kind of idiocy this was. Only I didn't say it that way. Ned say we needed to go for a walk, a "Moondog Walk," and wanted me to get something to play. I got my flute, to go with the slim moon. And then we justified all those folks who say we're crazy. It felt real good.
Track 3

Lawrence, Nowhere: Ned's brother went away to a little college in Lawrence, Kansas. When he left, Ned asked him why he didn't find something Indian to do. His brother graduated years ago but Ned only got around to visiting Lawrence last year. He said he liked the Kaw river where it ran through town.
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