Stuck, Ch. 5. Your America: Redbone, “Come and Get Your Love”

Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. A Prologue can be found here. A table of contents with links to previous chapters can be found here.

by Akim Reinhardt

Europeans spent 400 years killing, raping, lying to, and robbing Indigenous Americans. And then, when they’d taken most everything they wanted, they turned Native peoples into tokens, costumes, mascots, and fashion accessories. Like most fashion trends, it’s gone in cycles.

During the mid-19th century, when secretive men’s fraternal societies such as the Masons and Shriners became popular, the Improved Orders of Red Men was one such organization. Members occasionally dressed as make believe Indians and “whooped” it up. Although most people today have not heard of them, some Red Men societies held on until the late 20th century. Indeed, my own Baltimore neighborhood had a Tecumseh chapter building when I moved here in 2003.

By the early 20th century, dressing up as Indians had become a trendy pursuit for boys. The Boy Scouts promoted this appropriation, and it soon spread to countless summer camps across America. This childish cosplay was widespread during the first half of the Cold War, when Hollywood Westerns were at their peak of popularity, both in movie theaters and on TV. Countless backyard games of cowboys and Indians ensued, along with a fresh wave of children dressing up as both. Read more »

Stuck, Ch. 4. Outta Sight: Leon Russell, “Delta Lady”

Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. A Prologue can be found here. A table of contents with links to previous chapters can be found here.

by Akim Reinhardt

Leon Russell, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, (2012.201.B1116.0281, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS)He released 33 albums and recorded over 400 of songs, earning two Grammys among seven nominations. Yet you probably don’t know who Leon Russell was. For some people he’s a vaguely familiar name they have trouble putting a face or a tune to. Many more have never even heard of him. Because despite his prodigious output, Russell also had a way of being there without letting you know. He was the front man whose real impact came behind the scenes. He was very present, but just out of sight.

In addition to recording his own music, Leon Russell was a prolific session musician who worked with hundreds of artists over six decades. His main instrument was piano, but he played everything from guitar to xylophone. Russell was also was a songwriter who contributed to other musicians’ oeuvres. His song “This Masquerade” has been recorded by over 75 artists. “A Song For You” has been recorded by over 200. Finally, he was a record producer, a mastermind behind the glass and in front of the mixing board who oversaw and orchestrated, literally and metaphorically, the artistry of others. Read more »