Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The True Story of Thanksgiving: Eugene McDaniels & Iron Maiden (Storied Tracks)



Now, don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving just as much as every other warm-blooded American citizen; Gotta love those celebratory, no-commit holidays! But I must digress a tad but, and admit that the historical roots of said festivities aren't as "cookie-cutter" as we are all generally led to believe. For argument's sake, majority of us were taught back in grade school that the Indians/Pilgrims met, laughed, united, and collaborated to produce the joyous, harmonious feast that was forever immortalized as "The First Thanksgiving." According to various alternative accounts, the settlers @ Plymouth Rock were in fact a very cruel, conniving brand of people.

"They landed at Plymouth with a smile on their face.
They said, "We're your brothers from a far away place."
I know the Indians greeted them with wide open arms;
Too simple-minded and trusting to see through the charms.
In came the religions, the liquor, and the guns.
They claimed to be good guys, yeah but they acted like huns -
creating chaos, spreading disease.
As agents of God, they did damn well what they please..."

- Eugene McDaniels (1971)


This brings us to Eugene McDaniels' 1971 anti-hit, "The Parasite (for Buffy)." Headless Heroes of The Apocalypse's closing movement chronicles the vast racial undertones of "The First Thanksgiving" dinner and the tragic events that would unfold soon thereafter. It starts off pretty modest and Soulful and gradually gets more and more disturbing, slowly inching towards the 10-minute mark. McDaniels essentially repeats the same verse a number of times, raising the disturbia bar with each ongoing stanza. Eugene McDaniels' vocal delivery slowly deconstructs, along with "The Parasite"'s frail-frantic instrumental backing. The artist formerly known as "Gene McDaniels," was responsible for penning such popular 1960-70's standards as "Feel Like Making Love" and "Compared to What." Following Headless Heroes...'s imminent release, McDaniels quickly found himself neck-deep in hot water.

In a wild mis-use of power, Spiro T. Agnew [Nixon VP] somehow managed to force Atlantic Records to pull the album, drop McDaniels like a fly, and effectively blacklisted him from playing club gigs. Headless Heroes of The Apocalypse would go on to become a "cult hit," eventhough it remained out of print for the bulk of the next 30-some odd years. This however, did not stop Hip-Hop luminaries like: A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Gravediggaz, Beastie Boys, Pete Rock, Common, Eric B. & Rakim, and Quasimoto from sampling magnificent breaks culled from the album's 8 tracks. Now, please don't let this short editorial tarnish what we all know and love as customary present-day Thanksgiving festivities. This is simply just a mere alternative theory [account]. Take it as you may - Just try to take this "grain of salt" as some food for thought. Here's to a safe and HAPPY THANKSGIVING [day weekend] to all!

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