Buckskin/To All The Wild Horses
Don Giovanni Records
If it wasn’t for Don Giovanni Records owner Joe Steinhardt’s penchant for buying unusual cassette tapes in thrift stores, these records most likely wouldn’t have been reissued, and that would have been a shame.
Cherokee Rose, nee Rose Moore, wrote the material on Buckskin for her own personal use. She had something to say and wrote a few songs with no intention of ever pursuing a career as a songwriter. She was living in Minnesota at the time, and her sister knew someone who worked at Prince’s Paisley Park studios. He heard and liked the songs and offered to record them at the studio (I guess Prince was on the road or something… ). Buckskin contains two of these demos: “I’m Not Ready” and “Sweet Fire.” And while they point to the period of time in which they were created (mid ’90s), the songs are strong and Rose has a lovely voice to complement the material. The album’s most personal and compelling piece is “Black Irish Indian” (Rose’s grandmother was a Cherokee Indian princess), and her take on her own history rivals such artists as Buffy Sainte-Marie and Joan Baez. For an album that was birthed as a favor from a friend, it’s a great debut effort.
To All The Wild Horses is a more polished work, and with songs such as “Ma Ko Wey,” “Cherokee,” and the title track, Cherokee Rose touches more on her indigenous history than on Buckskin. Both releases are great examples of the power of honest songwriting, a sort we don’t see much of in these days of “Beats” and Autotune.
Today Rose Moore is a successful artist and gallery owner in Santa Fe. She made these records “a lifetime ago” and doesn’t mention them on her gallery’s website, but no matter. These are wonderful records, full of heart, pain, and history. Don’t be surprised, Cherokee, if these get a life of their own.
For more information on Cherokee Rose, please watch this documentary.