Monday, April 6, 2009



The fact that Jesse Ed Davis was an American Indian (Kiowa) was a big deal to me because I'd grown up in part, in Arizona, and was forced to work for my Mormon step father on the San Carlos Indian Reservation, north of Phoenix, when I was 15 years old. I never forgot the absolute disgust I had for my step father and his associates and the way they treated the Apache, Navajo, Zuni and Hopi Indians. I'd worked in the hay fields around Phoenix in the late 50's for him, loading hay trucks with Apache, mexican, and poor white laborers. I did this work under the threat of being made a ward of the court of the State of Arizona by Francis Farr, he was my mother's third husband. I recall telling Jesse that I believed the United States had committed serious crimes against American Indians and that I was ashamed at having been forced to work for people who helped do that.

Similarly, Jesse's disgust with the White Man's Religion (Chistianity) and the way it was used to systematically destroy American Indian lives, culture and language, throughout American History, was the connection of power we shared in common while recording "Jesus Was An Outlaw Too" and "Junkie Jesus." The fact that I'd taken the sanctity of this subject and turned it inside out and made it into music and lyrics was a serious and important concept for both of us while constructing the recordings. It was more than just making a record, it was a statement of deep and righteous anger and sentiment directed at the untouchable subject and the subject's benefactors at large. He as well as I, took pride in the creation of what some deem a sacrilege, but in our way of thinking was a contrary statement of strength aimed at hypocrisy, bigotry and genocide by the status quo, over a couple of hundred years.

In the original session there were three songs recorded. The third song, which I don't have a useable version of, was in the same vein as the other two songs but was not nearly as well constructed. Hopefully in time I will obtain a decent version and make it available along side the other two. I would also hope that I can learn the identities of the bass player and drummer who played on the session. What I have written here is my version of what transpired in 1971 between Jesse Ed Davis and myself. I am not seeking agreement or approval from any one regarding my own experience here or my recollection of it some 38 years later.

When Randy Newman came in to do the piano overdub on "Jesus Was An Outlaw Too" he started laughing when he heard my vocal track and the lyrics. He was sitting at the piano on a bench with ear phones on and looked up at me as I approached him asking, "Did you write this?" "Yeah." I said, not knowing whether he approved or disapproved. "This is great," he said, "great stuff." I was relieved and gratified at the same time because Newman was a hell of a writer and his approval meant a lot to me at the time and still does. You don't have to agree with what I wrote to be able to acknowledge that it was well written and original, so I never knew one way or the other whether Randy approved or not of the subject matter, but he did acknowledge his approval of my work in general. On his way out Newman said, "If you got anymore stuff like that you want me to play on let me know, that was fun."

When I first heard about Jesse, I was told his name was Jesse Edwin Davis so that's how I greeted him, which he immediately corrected. "Ed," he said, "Ed Davis." I got that this was important to him right off, so it became a running gag that afternoon in the studio to occasionally refer to him as "EDWIN", which he hated but tolerated from me those short few hours in 1971.

The guitar over dubs and guitar work in general by Ed Davis on these recordings is, in my opinion, some of his finest work. Until I popped up with them after 25 years or so, only a hand full of people even knew about these songs and Jesse's work with me on them. They can be vaguely heard in the movie, "Clay Pigeon" (1971), as background music in a couple of club dance scenes, but otherwise went completely unnoticed for 36 years, when I put them up on my myspace site.


  1. Bobby, this song is great. I don't know what's better, your lyrics, the vocal, the guitars, or the groove, one of those karmic moments when it all "clicks". After twenty-five years of obsessive collecting of sixties and seventies music, I never would have thought I could find such a diamond in the rough. Good luck with life and writing.