Randy Wood,
Round Dance the Night Away
(Canyon, 2002)

Round Dance the Night Away, Randy Wood's first solo collection with Canyon Records, has been nominated for a Grammy as best Native American album. Wood is a founding member of Northern Cree, a pow-wow group that is so well traveled that even I have seen them in person. They are a fantastic group and Wood can hold his own with the best. His talent is only exceeded by his breathtaking regalia setting the standard for the rest of us to follow in that respect. If you have an opportunity to see him or Northern Cree, do so.

This CD is a collection of Randy's original round dance songs. A round dance is a couples dance, designed for the guys and girls to have an opportunity to meet and fall in love. Appropriately, most of these selections are romantic messages, with a couple being stories about love gone wrong.

These are traditional chant-songs. They utilize the wide variety of vocals sounds and techniques found in Native American culture. You will not find synthesizers or guitars here. Drums and rattles are the only accompaniment, as is traditional with the chant-songs. What you will find is a mesmerizing arrangement of vocal "special effects" that will keep you listening intently for hours on end. This is top-of-the-line pow-wow music!

"What's Her Name" is my favorite. It will make you laugh out loud with its story of what happens when a man kisses his woman's sister and gets caught. The ending will get you on the floor rolling!

"Round Dance the Night Away" has an intriguing chorus and a broken rhythm that is fascinating. Wood's voice falls off to almost a whisper as he sings of enjoying the round dance and the sight of his woman dancing.

"A Little 'Northern Cree'" has a slightly faster rhythm than the other selections and is self-promotion to the max. Again, Wood shows his wit by singing about how he does not want rap, rock or country music, he wants Northern Cree, the group of which he is a founding member. Be warned that this song is highly addictive and you will likely find yourself singing it throughout the day or whenever you hear one of those other types of music ... which can be highly embarrassing if you happen to be in a crowded elevator or shopping center when your musical protest erupts.

This CD is the next best thing to being at a pow-wow in person. If you have ever thought, "I wish there were a pow-wow today," this is a must-have for your collection. You can start it playing, close your eyes and be taken to your most treasured Sacred Circle. For those of you that have never been to a pow-wow, buy this one for the experience. And for every woman that has ever had a cheating husband or boyfriend (or just wishes to warn the present love before he does stray) buy this one just for that one song!

I tend to shy away from reviews of romantic material, but found myself sucked into this CD. The songs are, like most traditional chant-songs, simply stated but strongly moving. Perhaps their true beauty is in their simplicity. Whatever the reason, the effect is there. If they can make me "ooo and coo," imagine the effect they would have on a person who is not anti-romance! I highly recommend this CD as a Valentine's Day or anniversary gift. It is the perfect way to tell someone how you feel.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 19 April 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.