There are a few music blogs I visit regularly, among them one called Ben loxo du takku, an examination of African music (with samples) maintained by Matt Yanchyshyn, a Canadian who works for Associated Press as West African bureau chief or something like that.
I hadn’t been to the site for a while so I scrolled down and found a link to excavated shellac, an esoteric yet fascinating site (to me anyway) maintained by a guy named Jonathan who collects 78s from around the world.
His blogroll has a link to a site called airform archives, another collector’s site but more varied. He had a post sharing a recent flea market find: a set of photos of Iron Eyes Cody demonstrating sign language. (See above.)
It brought back a strange experience I once had interviewing Robert “Tree” Cody, son of Iron Eyes. Tree Cody plays Native American wooden flute and was coming to perform in our area. We were talking via cell phone as he drove from one gig to another. I was not well prepared and innocently asked him about his upbringing and if his father had been raised on a reservation.
He hesitated then told me something along the lines of, “It’s not all true what they say about my father, but anyway it doesn’t matter since my brother and I were adopted.” I had no idea what he was talking about and was about to ask when his phone went dead.
I immediately Googled his father and came across about how he’d tried to hide his Sicilian heritage. I was not sure how to broach the subject with his son, or if I should even bring it up, but it turned out to be a moot point: I could not reconnect with him after his phone went dead so we never continued the interview.