Dust Bin Don Armando’s 2nd Ave Rhumba Band
posted by July 2 at 10:41 AMon
August Darnell and Andy Hernandez aren’t ones to skirt a little controversy. In the ‘70’s under the tutelage of Stony Browder Jr. they wrote and recorded songs like, “March Of The Nignies” and “Once There Was A Colored Girl…” by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savanah Band that played with race and stereotypes while the dancefloor kept jumping to faux-swing, big band disco.
So it’s only natural that they would gravitate towards a cover version of Irving Berlin’s widely criticized homage to Native Americans “I’m An Indian Too” from Annie Get Your Gun. By twisting the lyrics of a white girl (“Annie”) trying to become an “Injun”, sung by a black woman singing for the white disco scene, the song transcends it’s original meaning and heads into the metasphere. With it’s themes of inter-racial sex and “hilarious” name calling (could i be more dripping with sarcasm) the original was ripe for the Darnell/Hernandez treatment.
Just like Battle Axe, Hatchet Face, Eagle Nose
I’m and Indian too!
With my chief in his teepee
We’ll raise an Indian family
And I’ll be busy night and day
Looking like a flour sack
With two papooses on my back
And three papooses on the way
So maligned is the song nowadays, that it was completely left out of the 1999 revival (starring Bernadette Peters) due to its “insensitivity”.
And that’s just the way Darnell, Hernandez and “Don” Armando Bonilla liked it! Don Armando’s 2nd Ave Rhumba Band was a one-off that members of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savanah Band put out as a sort of “cowboys and indians/old west” meets disco theme. Singular in that oeuvre, the albums pastiche is laid on a bit thick, and as such, it suffers from a bit of tongue-in-chic overload.
It’s no wonder that, even though it wasn’t the promoted single from the album (that prize inexplicably went to the just O.K. “Deputy Of Love”) it has become the song of choice for disco loving DJ’s the world over.
Singer Fonda Rae and the rest of the Rhumba Band even donned indian outfits to record the track, that on the album sits at around three and a half minutes, but in it’s full 12” glory comes in at nearly eight.
PS. The original version of the song “I’m An Indian Too” was sung by the incomparable Ethel Merman, who revived her original roll on broadway 20 years after her debut in it.
There is no good quality Youtube video of Betty Hutton from the movie singing the huge show-stopping song and dance number that is “I’m An Inidan Too”, so may I suggest you go out and rent the movie to get the full impact of the song.
Now… can you see why the gays might dig this song?