This is one of those rare occasions when I actually prefer a cover to the original and this rendition is pretty magic! Coyote is a song that was originally written by Peter La Farge in 1963 – though he titled it as Coyote, My Little Brother.
I’ve just been reading about Peter La Farge and the record that features the original of today’s song and I have to say, it’s compelled me to check out the whole album. As Long As The Grass Shall Grow: Peter La Farge Sings Of The Indians is a record that does just that! It pays tribute to the Native American’s and their plight. Long before Hollywood dramatized the plight of Native Americans, Peter La Farge was writing about these peoples’ experiences. With songs about Tecumseh and the Trail of Tears, to a rhyme about the atom bomb: “Take back the megaton / Give us back our lances / We will make our own wars / And we will dance our dances.” this record traces the life and struggle of America’s indigenous people.
Steve Young released his notable version six years after the original and I love that he’s changed it and adapted it, making it sound so different. What really gives it the edge are those haunting vocal howls, it’s a special feature, they are really emotive and I love how they impact the song. The essence of this track has not been lost even though it sounds so different. Steve Young was an American country music singer-songwriter and guitarist, revered for his pioneering country rock, Americana and alternative county sounds. Also known as a vital force behind the ‘outlaw movement’ that gave support to the careers of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr and so many more artists!
Coyote featured on his 1969 debut record, Rock, Salt and Nails which was released on A&M Records... The version you can hear above is taken from a live show (not sure from when) and the Youtube video below (minus the additional animal howls at the beginning) is, I assume, the album version? I hope you enjoy!