American Indians were starting to get some respect in the late 60s into the early 70s, at least in popular culture. They were beginning to fight for the rights as exemplified at the incident at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. A major policy change would happen in 1975 with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The 1970 book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, highlighted the history of the American Indian’s plight at the height of their activism. And in 1974 with a single from their 5th album, Wovoka, comes Redbone, riding the wave of American Indian pride, dressed in Native furs and feathers. Except for the fact that Pat & Lolly Vegas were Latino. Although they were as American Indian as Cher was, they had Yaqui Indian blood in their heritage as well as their drummer having Cherokee in his, so will give them a pass. And as another aside, when we think of Cher’s Half Breed as setting the Indian movement back a few years, Redbone was a slang which meant the same thing. It was a different time, folks.
The song itself, although hooked onto a catchy chorus, kind of has a jerky rhythm. In fact, starting out with an awkward drum fill, the drummer & bass player never seem to be on the same page. They wanna get down and should be able to, but it takes a while. The sitar lick tries to push them along but never lines up either. I know playing a sitar is a bitch, so kudos for even adding it into the mix, guys. Lolly tries to get that sitar to fit in the groove and once he does, right after the “come n get your love breakdown solo”, it’s nasty and downright satisfying to the listener. It’s the part I wait for every time I hear that song.
The lyrics, oh boy, how much weed were these dudes smokin? By the way Google the lyrics to this song and no one knows if he’s singing Hey, Hell or Hail. I don’t blame him cause it sounds like the guy singing has a bad cold. When he can’t figure out lyrics he throws in a hey and/or a yeah. Let’s breakdown it down (with the “hail” version):
What’s the matter with your head, yeah
What’s the matter with your mind
And your sign an-a, oh-oh-oh
Nothin’ the matter with your head
Baby find it, come on and find it
Hail, with it baby
‘Cause you’re fine
And you’re mine, and you look so divine
Come and get your love
What’s the matter with you feel right
Don’t you feel right baby
Hail, oh yeah
Get it from the main vine, all right
I said-a find it, find it
Go on and love it if you like it, yeah
It’s your business if you want some, take some
Get it together baby
I’ll let you try to decipher what this means, but I’m fairly certain ‘love’ is code for something else.