1972 Redbone – Witch Queen Of New Orleans
Brothers Patrick (Pat) and Candido (Lolly) Vasquez-Vegas were Native Americans who were born in California near Fresno. Pat played bass and Lolly played guitar and the pair both sang. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1959 and spent a decade playing in clubs as Pat and Lolly. One club they sang at was Gazzari’s, which resulted in opportunities to sing on the Hollywood A Go Go program in the early sixties.
The duo recorded an album and released several singles, including Robot Walk. They also appeared on Shindig several times and became regulars on the show. They co-wrote the song Niki Hoeky, which P. J. Proby released and took up to #23 on the Hot 100 in 1967. The song uses the term “Scooby-Doo” a few years before it was applied to a well-known cartoon dog.
Jimi Hendrix was part Cherokee, and he inspired the brothers to form an all-Native American band. They recruited Peter DePoe and Robert Anthony Avila (who used the stage name Tony Bellamy) and formed Redbone. “Redbone” is a Cajun term for somebody of mixed heritage, which fit the brothers since they had Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican ancestors. The group recorded their first album in 1970, and their music was also a result of a mixed heritage; they mixed rock, R&B, Cajun, blue-eyed soul, funk, country, tribal, and Latin music into their performances. Single from the album did not do well.
Maggie, the band’s first single from their second album, came out in late 1970. The record peaked at #80 and fell off the charts, but returned to the charts the next Summer and reached #45. Their next two singles from the album failed to chart.
The band’s third album finally yielded a bona fide hit. The Witch Queen of New Orleans peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 in early 1972. The record became an international hit and reached #2 on the UK chart and the top ten in a few more countries.
The band’s most successful single came out in 1973. Come And Get Your Love made it up to #5 on the Hot 100 and earned the band their only gold record. The Real McCoy sang and rapped their way through the song in 1995 and reached #19 on the Hot 100. The song popped back into popular culture again in 2014 when Disney included the Redbone version on the mix tape in the film Guardians of the Galaxy.
The band recorded a total of seven albums before everybody except the brothers left the band by 1977. The pair recorded one last album as Redbone in 2005.
Lolly died in 2010, and Pat pursued a solo career. He continues to lead a touring band that performs both his solo music and the Redbone hits.
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