High Noon,
Have Drum Will Travel
(Canyon, 2003)

Twelve drumming songs are performed here by High Noon, a 10-man group consisting mainly of Cree, with two men from the Blackfeet and one from Tiwa. They open the CD with "Grand Entry" and it is powerful. These guys will not easily be forgotten.

There are seven Intertribal songs that I understand to be the usual form of first song at pow-wow dance competitions. All of these have been made by Ted Noon except for two by Faron Lujan.

There's variety offered here with three contest songs, two by Ted Noon and one by Marlon Green. The singing voices are strong and clear through all. These people play and sing as one voice. There aren't a lot of changes of rhythm in their contest songs but enough to keep the dance interesting.

In the background you can hear an announcer introducing and thanking the band for its performances, which were digitally recorded in 2003 by Stephen Butler and Anthony Wakeman at the Siksika Nation in Alberta, Canada, and edited and mastered by Jack Miller Productions in Phoenix, Ariz.

The production sound is very clear, and I imagine I can almost hear the winds created by the powerful arms of the drummers as they beat out the rhythms. The players responsible for the commanding sounds on High Noon are Wade Okeymaw, Travis Meguinis, Merle Yellowbird, Ted Noon, Ron Noon, Marlon Green, Conan Yellowbird, Jay Dusty Bull, Faron Lujan and Mike LaFramboise. The liner notes don't say which of them do the singing. I would guess they all participate at times.

The clarity of the album and the talent of the drummers to beat together as one were the two most outstanding features of this CD. I think the liner notes could have been improved if the tracks had been given titles. And it would have been easier to write about a specific cut. Except for the "Honor Song" and "Grand Entry," the cuts were all titled either "Intertribal" or "Contest Song." I would have liked to learn more about these selections.

This CD leaves you with a very great sense of the power of the drum and the power of our voices, and if you enjoy that aspect of drumming, you'll find something on here for sure.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 15 May 2004

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