About Michael O'Neill

Showcasing a new collection with a previously un-released Townes Van Zandt song as the title track, this singer/songwriter with a “roots-rock” history and a soulful ease carries his listener into a time and place reminiscent of steel strings, guitar heroes, and great story-tellers like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. One of 13 children, he got started in music early. At the age of 24, he cut his teeth opening his first tour for a then-unknown band called U2.

By the time the tour ended in Los Angeles, O'Neill found himself signed with legendary manager Don Arden, (father of Sharon Osbourne). O'Neill put together a band that featured a young John Shanks, (now superstar producer of Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, Vertical Horizon, etc.), Kenny Gradney (Little Feat), and jazz saxophonist, Boney James.

He spent the better part of the next ten years touring with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and penning songs with Bob Weir, Steve Cropper (Booker T. and The MG's), and Jason Scheff (Chicago).

Part country crooner, part haggard storyteller, O'Neill makes a noise that is refreshingly classic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Apache Kid

Mike just got back from Mexico, which got me thinking about outlaws and Mexico of course. I came across a formidable one from way back when, The Apache Kid, check this bad guy out:

The Apache Kid, a notorious outlaw, was said to be the fiercest Apache next to Geronimo. His Indian name was Haskay-bay-nay-natyl, "the tall man destined to come to a mysterious end,". He enlisted with General Crook as a scout to fight Apache armies in 1881, was promoted to sergant and accompanied Crook on the expedition of the Sierra Madre.

In Mexico with the Geronimo Campaign in 1885, he was nearly killed in a drunken riot in Huasabas. The judge didn't want to see the Apache Kid shot by a firing squad so instead fined him twenty dollars, and the Army sent him back to San Carlos.

In 1887, his fathr was killed (after much drinking of Apache moonshine, tiswin, an illegal brew made of fermented fruit or corn). The Kid's friends killed the murderer but, not satisfied with that, he killed the murderer's brother too. When he was arrested for the killing, gunfire errupted from the crowd, allowing him and some of his friends to escap, though they had been disarmed. An Army officer was killed in the fray.

A search started for the Apache Kid, with the calvarly following the outlaws along the San Carloss River. They were finally found, with help from other Indian Scouts, in the Rincon Mountains. Ultimately, the Kid agreed to surrender if the cavalry wre recalled. He and four others were court-martialed and found guilty of mutiny and desertion.

Again, he was sentenced to death by firing squad. However, General Miles ordered the court to reconsider and they were re-sentenced first to life in prison then, again at the urging of Miles, to ten years. They wound up at infamous Alcatraz but thir conviction was overturned on October 13, 1888. They were released but the outrage of citizens resulted in a new warrant being issued.

The outlaws were again found guilty and in 1889 they were sentenced to seven years in the Territorial Prison at Yuma. The Kid and a few others escaped during transport, their tracks covered by a snowstorm. During the get away fight, three guards were over-taken and two of thm died. The surviving one said that the Kid had stopped another Apache from killing him. This was the last "official" sighting of the Apache Kid.

Over the coming years, he was accused of many crimes. It was said that he led a small band of reneegade Apache and that they raided ranches and trains all over New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico and robbed and killed prospecters, cowboys and others. He was belived by some to have made a hide-out in the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains.

Others said he became a loner, hated by the Apache and feared by the whites. All sorts of tales were told of his suspectd misdeeds, including kidnapping Apache women till he got tired of them, killing them, then finding a new one. A $5,000 reward was offerred for him, dead or alive, but no one ever claimed it. After 1894, reports of his crimes stopped suddenly. Some said he'd died, others that he'd gone for good to his hideout in the mountains of Mexico.

"The tall man destined to come to a mysterious end" indeed.

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