There's a whole lot of different sounds on this CD, from insects to wolves to penguins to cave interiors. It's titled Why Do Whales and Children Sing - A Guide To Listening in Nature. It came out in '99 on Earth Ear. (1:35)
This cut is from the soundtrack CD of an IMAX Theatre Film: Journey Into Amazing Caves, performed by Steve Wood and Daniel May, with collaboration by Justin Hayward and John Lodge of The Moody Blues. It came out on Ark 21 Records in 2001. (4:04)
a If you wanted to take the train to see Carlsbad Caverns, you'd hop on the Chicago-LA Santa Fe Train #1, The Scout, shown below pulling out of the Belen, New Mexico railyards in 1940. Taking a slightly different route than the Santa Fe superliners, The Scout came across north Texas to Clovis, New Mexico, where you'd get off and then board the Santa Fe train The Cavern, bound for the caves and the bats. The Scout was discontinued in June of 1948.
"The Turquoise Trail" was a Detour available, a drive through the old mining district south of Santa fe . The mines have pretty much played out, unlike the tourists, who outnumber the locals by a long stretch most of the time. On the left is a squeaky fiddle tune, recorded long ago, from a CD titled Country Music Pioneers on Edison, released in '06 on Document Records. (3:38) The Edison referred to is an early recording device invented by Thomas Edison, who interestingly enough, spent time in Golden, New Mexico at one time, working on a new invention that had something to do with - gold, what else! On the right is a "theme" piece by Frank Fischer, from his CD West Of Fantasy, Fuego label - 1990. (4:11) a
Cerrillos in Santa Fe County is not only an uncommon and unique form of native New Mexican turquoise, but has a history entwined with both ancient Native peoples of the Southwest and more recent American mining companies. Cerrillos turquoise was created and mined under unusual circumstances. It is the only turquoise that formed at the base of a volcano. Thus, a variety of colors developed from the minerals in the various volcanic host stones. In fact, seventy-five colors have been identified, from tan to khaki-green to rich, blue-green to bright and light colors. The Cerrillos mine is the oldest mine of any kind in North America. Located ten miles south of Santa Fe, it was the site of the largest prehistoric mining activity on the continent because the huge turquoise deposit was partially exposed at the surface. The Pueblo peoples continued to extract turquoise from the Cerrillos mine until the 1870's when a silver mining boom raised interest in the area. The Tiffany Company in New York and its associates bought up the mine area and extracted $2,000,000 worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899. a From the Turquoise and More Website h
Each of the three little villages ("ghost towns" doesn't really apply, now) that are the highlight of The Turquoise Trail - Cerrillos, Madrid, and Golden - has a unique history. The Cerrillos area, in the Ortiz Mountains, had been mined for centuries by Indians for the turquoise to be found (text above). There were trace amounts of other minerals as well. There's still some mine activity in the area, but much of it involves the exchange of paper - mining claims for cash, a dubious business that is filled with bogus information, sleazy con artists, and naive (read: stupid) buyers who are stripped of their cash quicker than you can say "We're gonna be rich!"
Madrid was located adjacent to a huge coal deposit which was mined from the late 1800's up until the 1950's. Unlike Cerrillos, there was never any doubt about the coal being there. It was real, just like the men who worked hard to get it out - for peon wages, paid in script, negotiable at the company store. It was famous for its Christmas lights at one time, when commercial airliners would actually take a "detour" to see Madrid sparkling in the hills.
Golden had been the site of mining activity since the early days of the Spaniards, but boomed in 1825 with a large discovery of gold. The town had several saloons and even a stock exchange, all gone now. A rebirth of sorts has occured in the whole area since the 1970's. The abandoned miners' homes in Madrid (below) are now almost all renovated either into residences or shops for the tourists.
A few miles north of Golden's San Francisco de Assisi mission (above) was an unassuming joint on the highway that became famous, or at least as famous as a bar in the sticks can get. In its day, it was, arguably, the best damn bar in the state. A classic "roadhouse" saloon, the Golden Inn had originally been a watering hole for the locals and occasional tourist. A group called "Emilio's Rancheros" would play on Sunday afternoons, and there was a buffet of "down home" cookin'.
Then, in the early 70's, The Last Mile Ramblers started playing, and one thing led to another, till Sunday afternoons at The Golden Inn drew big, big crowds - hippies, bikers, Santa Fe characters, college kids from Albuquerque, the curious and the lost, and amazed and bewildered locals, who, to their credit, just rolled with the flow. There was a 6'4" guy at the door, with a Stetson on his head and a Colt 45 on his hip, wearing a Santa Fe County Sheriff's Posse badge. He'd shake everyone's hand as they came through the door, smiling and looking at each and all directly in the eye, saying: "Y'all have a real good time today, OK?" This guy was security.
In the warm months, kids and an occasional dog would be popping in and out of the windows that ran down the east and west sides both of the big room, the dance hall. It was controlled havoc. There was no air-con, and on some Summer afternoons, people kicking it up on the dance floor on a fast tune came back to the table dripping wet, but grinning ear to ear. At band breaks there were frisbee free-for-all's in the parking lot, or you could cool off by watching it all in the shade of the east side of the place, sharing a pitcher with God-only-knows who. It was always interesting.
There's a mental snapshot ingrained in my gray matter of a burly biker and an elderly Spanish lady that no one had asked to dance, doing a slow two-step, the two of them chatting away and smiling. I still smile when I think of it. In the late afternoon, large shafts of light would stream through the west windows, playing on the dancers. Magic. The Golden Inn, indeed.
I never saw a fight, despite the fact that bikers and cowboys aren't supposed to be a good mix. Everything was totally cool. Even the dim could realize that whatever snakes you had crawling around in your head at the time, had to be left at the door. This was pure R & R, and out-of-hand behavior and whining wasn't going to be tolerated, by the "regulars," much less the James Arness-type at the front door. Saint Francis of Assisi, the peace/love guy always shown with a dove in his hand or on his shoulder, certainly would have approved. As they say, "God loves ya' when ya' dance."
But things change. The place got sold (God forgive them), and renovations (enlargements) occured to the building, the prices, and the amount of BS you had to put up with. The Last Mile Ramblers gave way to "club" music from out of state; there were no smiles at the front door; and the new bartenders were surly. Always, always a bad sign. The place went to hell. It was Santa Fe drug dealers and other assorted "City Different" white trash - hustlers and losers, real estate "sharpies" and ambulance chasers wearing Tony Lama ostrich-skin boots and gold with turquoise chokers, imports from California, Dallas, and New York City. Scum, white trash with cash, the absolute worst type. And so. . . the joint's fiery demise was no surprise to those who watched the "slide." The Golden Inn got arsoned in the early 80's. Today it's just a vacant spot overgown with weeds. v
Here's the album jacket, thirty-four years old as of this writing. Blue Canyon Records, out of Las Vegas, New Mexico produced it, and it's filled with good stuff. The band guys are - left to right - Steve Keith - banjo and fiddle, J.B. Brown - lead guitar, pedal steel, and dobro, Spook James - bass, George "Bullfrog" Bourque - flattop guitar, and Charlie "Relleno" Jobes - drums. Spook (Nathaniel) James wrote "The Golden Inn Song," and sings lead on it. SpookSg