It seems lately I’ve been thinking more about music interests of the past, tracing a number of different covers of Spirit’s I Got A Line on You. One of them was by Blackfoot, a southern rock band from the seventies/early eighties, at least their prime years anyway. I knew three of the band were Native Americans(though that term wasn’t in popular use and in one interview back then, one referred to them as “Three Indians and a Jew.”
Investigating, I learned some interesting facts. Shorty Medlocke was the grandfather of Rickey Medlocke, lead singer of Blackfoot. Born in 1910 and passing in 1982, he was a blues musician and a descendant of The Blackfoot Confederacy, the Niisitapi, an alliance of four tribes in Montana and Canada. They shared a common language, culture, had treaties for mutual defense and freely intermarried. Shorty may have also been the inspiration for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s The Ballad of Curtis Lowe.
The band Blackfoot was made up of Rickey Medlocke, part Sioux as well, Jakson Spires, part Cherokee, Greg T. Walker, who’s heritage is the Eastern Creek Florida people, and Charlie Hargrett, a native New Yorker. At least the classic line-up.
The band’s best known song was Train, Train, written by Shorty Medlocke. He even played harmonica on the album version. Below, first, is a clip featuring Shorty’s version, which was included on the Blackfoot Strikes album, and then the Blackfoot cover.