Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Redbone's Lolly Vasquez is now red bones

Lolly Vasquez, died on March 4, 2010. He and his brother Patrick were the core of Redbone, the early 70's band that specialized in Cajun swamp rock (with the obligatory song about New Orleans voodoo queen Marie Laveau) and later were publicized as an "all-Native American" band. Not that the band members could really claim to be 100% Native American, especially the brothers Vasquez.

The band was hot between 1971 ("The Witch Queen of New Orleans" nearly made the Top 20) and 1974, when "Come and Get Your Love" (written by Lolly Vasquez) went gold. "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee" was a Top 10 in some European markets in 1973 but didn't get much airplay in America.

Redbone didn't disappear just because they were no longer producing hit songs. The band continued to tour. Lolly left the group around 1996 when he suffered a stroke, but the band continued with replacement Raven Hernandez. Original member Tony Bellamy died on Christmas day, 2009, a year after Redbone was inducted into the somewhat sparse "Native American Music Association Hall of Fame."

Your download? Five of their best: We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee, Poison Ivy, Message from a Drum, The Witch Queen of New Orleans, and Come and Get Your Love. If these bring back fond memories, or turn out to be a welcome introduction to the band, you can find plenty more on legit CD. You might also be moved to find the brothers' recording debut, "Pat and Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House," recorded in the 60's for Mercury when "Vasquez" was considered an uncommercial name, and "Vegas" pure show-biz.

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