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Sunday, April 11, 2004
Anaconda Copper Mines & Wolf Creek Session
Listening to:Walkin One and Only, Maria Muldaur
Reading:Core CSS
Weather:40, overcast
Last night the last coffeehouse concert of the season featured Wolf Creek Session, my friends Keith and Joan Pitzer with Alice and Mike formerly of Sang Run. Tremendous show. Keith and Joan played the first set, mostly tunes from their new album West Virginia Serenade. Sweet clean tunes, satisfying tasteful harmonies, great pickin. Then second set they were joined by Alice, player of Celtic flutes and whistles, fiddler Mike, and Fred the eclectic hand percussionist (djembe, doumbek, lots of cool bone and shell shakers, chimes).

Typically I can't take too many of the fiddle tunes, especially with flute doubling fiddle, too much repetitive treble for me. But Alice plays a wooden transverse flute of some sort that has significantly fewer cutting highs than a silver flute, and the mix from my seat was perfect. I was right next to the percussion cat, and he was holding back. He's quite an animated character while playing, reminds me of the perc dude in the Yellow Jackets, and the one from Clay (now Soul Inside). I got to hear mostly ambient guitar, fiddle, and flute sounds rather than what was coming out of the speakers. This may be the ticket to eliminating those ear-augering highs, because it was a mellow, groovy experience. The band also did a great job mixing up the instrumental stuff and songs throughout the setlist. If only Jimmy had made me my favorite Fruits of the Forest dessert, it would have been a perfect night. Maybe next time.

This morning I turned on Sundance again to see another great film. This one a document called An Injury to One. The film is an examination of the 1917 murder of Frank Little, half-Cherokee half-white, "the agitator" labor organizer of the IWW (International Workers of the World). Remember the Wobblies? They were a radical anti-capitalist movement that promoted revolution of the workers by any means necessary.

Butte, Montana was the home of Anaconda copper mines. Hard rock mining produces sulphurous acid mine drainage like we have here from coal mining. But hard rock mining leaches even more toxic concentrations of metals like arsenic and shit. The old pit there, a mile-wide lake, now read under 2.5 pH, about the equivalent of freakin battery acid. A flock of over 300 geese got caught in a storm, and sheltered in the lake a few years ago, the next morning they were all dead with lesion in their throats and shit. The NEXT MORNING. Anywho, the brutal crushing of the workers movement in Butte carried the seeds of the McCarthyism which would come later all over the country. The miners of Butte lived and died in atrocious conditions. Some would die in the fiery hell of a burning mine, thousands from tuberculosis from the terrible healthcare and cramped conditions, while the company made gazillions jacking up the prices of copper as it became critical to the war effort.

Quite an important story, and a good reminder that for people in poverty, all they have is their labor to bargain with against the capitalists who own all the assets of the country. As long as they remain disorganized, their individual power is negligible, and they remain little more than slaves. And we vote for that slavery every time we shop at Wal-mart.

permalink posted by cat 9:10 AM

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Anaconda Copper Mines & Wolf Creek Session