The Song Of Chief Joseph

The Song Of Chief Joseph

Mijn kennismaking met James Talley, de zanger van dit nummer, begon in 1975 toen ik in een onbeduidend platenwinkeltje aan de Nieuwendijk in Amsterdam in de platenbakken zijn LP “Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money, But We Sure Got A Lot Of Love” zag staan, kocht en in die periode grijs draaide op mijn mooie Grundig PS2600 platenspeler. De jaren gingen voorbij, James raakte bij mij in de vergetelheid, er kwamen nieuwe muzikale helden en die geweldige LP belandde in de platenkast op de achterste rij. Tot in 1995, 20 jaar later, toen ik op de radio een liedje hoorde die mij weer deed denken aan die eerste LP die ik toen van hem had gekocht. Nieuwsgierig geworden ging ik op zoek naar James Talley en ontdekte dat hij zijn zo veelbelovende muzikale carriere had opgegeven en zijn brood verdiende in “the real estate”. Hij berichtte mij dat hij weer ging optreden en platen ging opnemen en zond mij vanuit Nashville zijn toen nieuwste album “The Road To Torreon” op cassette (ja die had je toen ook nog). Vanaf dat moment ben ik hem weer gaan volgen en heb al zijn albums in mijn verzameling.
“The Song Of Chief Joseph” is afkomstig van de CD “Journey” die James op zijn eigen label Cimarron Records in 2004 uitbracht . Het is het aangrijpende verhaal van Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, een Indianenstam uit het nooroosten van de staat Oregon, en beschrijft de tragische ondergang van zijn stam. Op 5 oktober 1877, na moedig voor hun vrijheid te hebben gestreden, gaf deze stam zich over aan hun overwinnaars onder leiding van generaal Howard. Bij die gelegenheid zei Chief Joseph:

“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Songtekst

The Song Of Chief Joseph ( James Talley)

I have no ponies left to ride
There no visions in my mind
The sky is broken, the moon is down
There is darkness
I will pray to the morning star,
Pray that I might carry on
Give me wisdom, give me live,
Give me courage

Once this great land was my home,
Where my people freely roamed
Now the world is torn apart,
There is darkness

My name is Joseph, this is my story:
I didn’t want fame, I didn’t seel glory,
My father’s land, I will defent it,
With my life, with my hands

We were on our way to the reservation,
Forced to go, our homes abandoned
My people’s hearts, they were breakin,
My young men killed, and a war was on

The Army found us in White Bird Canyon,
We were camped on the Salmon River
One hundred men, we did defeat them,
And away to dead, to death we rode

Day and night they pursued us,
Along the rivers, up to Bitterroot
For young and old, the trail was brutal,
But we were running for our lives

Then one cold dawn in the Big Hole valley
Their bullets came, in deadly volley
So many died, I can’t remember
We fought them off, and we rode on

We crossed the Divide, and they came after,
Through the valleys into Yellowstone
Down the steps of Clark’s Fork Canyon,
Through the land of the Crow, and up the Musselshell

We crossed the Missouri at Cow Island,
Twelve hundred miles we’d run and fought
We headed north through the bear Paw Mountains,
And it was there our luck ran out

Five days and nights, we stood and fought them,
In the bitter wind, in freezing snoe
We shot each other all to pieces,
‘till the food ran out, the ammunition gone

My heart was sick, sad and heavy,
Chiden freezing, so many gone
I will fight no more, no more forever,
Where the sun now stands, i will fight no more

I heard the thunder from the mountains,
I saw the blood, there on the plane
I feel a sorrow never ending,
Among the tears, everlasting pain

I have no ponies left to ride
There no visions in my mind
The sky is broken, the moon is down
There is darkness
I will pray to the morning star,
Pray that I might carry on
Give me wisdom, give me live,
Give me courage

Once this great land was my home,
Where my people freely roamed
Now the world is torn apart,
There is darkness
I will fight no more….I will fight no more…
No more forever