Focusing on music icons like Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Taboo (The Black Eyed Peas), Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Jesse Ed Davis, Robbie Robertson, and Randy Castillo, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World shows how these pioneering Native American musicians helped shape the soundtrack of our lives.
What We Thought:
There have been some pretty great rock docs over the past five years and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World is the latest to make that list. It’s a fantastic look at some overlooked and under the radar musicians that most people might not be familiar with.
It opens with Link Wray, a Native American guitarist from North Carolina that wrote the song Rumble. It was a hit in the 1950’s and is the only instrumental song to be banned from the radio. My dad is a big fan of the song and had no idea Wray was a Native American when I told him after watching this documentary. Rumble was a highly influential song that changed how music sounded. Iggy Pop talks about hearing it for the first time and others discuss the song as well.
The documentary then gets into the blues and jazz and places like New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. Not only is the film educational when it comes to music, but you get some American history as well. People talk about their families claiming to be black in New Orleans instead of being Native American because if you were caught being a Native American, you were forced onto a reservation. We think of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta sound as being black based blues, but a lot of the artists, including the legendary Charley Patton, had Native American ancestry.
As a fan of Jimi Hendrix I knew he had some Native blood in him, but this talks about his grandmother being part Native and growing up on a reservation. She also was in Vaudeville and the Left Handed God got a lot of his fashion sense from his grandmother’s Native and Vaudeville background.
I also knew Robbie Robertson was Indian coming from Canada and there’s a big focus on him and his band, The Band. He talks about touring with Bob Dylan when Dylan first plugged in and Director Martin Scorsese discusses The Last Waltz, The Band’s record-breaking last performance.
I wasn’t familiar with Jesse Ed Davis or Randy Castillo and I’m ashamed of that. Jesse Ed Davis played with some of the biggest acts in the world from The Beatles to Jackson Browne and Rod Stewart. Randy Castillo was a drummer for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne. I’ve heard both men’s work, but I’m embarrassed I didn’t know their names.
If you are a fan of music documentaries like The Wrecking Crew, 20 Feet From Stardom, Muscle Shoals, and Hired Gun then Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World is definitely for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is…