Don Jones – Bigfoot (Northwest’s Abominable Snowman)
Panorama - Vinyl LP - Release date unknown
A1 – Bigfoot*
A2 – Bigfoot & Little Willie Whitecloud
A3 – He Watch The Man
A4 – Little Bigfoot Journey Home
A5 – Shelter
B1 – I Believe
B2 – Love Me Tonight
B3 – Mankind
B4 – Guess Who
B5 – Unchained Melody
This 1970s era country album offers a little bit of everything – tight songwriting, soulful crooning, subtle racism, and some true cryptozoological analysis. From the start, Don Jones begins with a straight-faced preamble about the possible existence of an as-yet-undiscovered North American ape:
“The songs on the A-side of this album are dedicated to the believers and non-believers of Bigfoot. The fascination and the intrigue of Bigfoot, or Sasquatch – if you may, has and will have many different conversations. The screams on this album are authentic Bigfoot screams and I would like to thank my friend Ray Wallace for the use of these.”
This speech is followed by a series of Flipper the Dolphin-like squeals and squeaks that continue until Jones lands on the album’s title track. And what a track it is!
“Bigfoot” introduces us to the character depicted on the album’s cover – a dark- and thickly-haired hominid sitting or kneeling on the grass beneath a tree and seemingly petting a mountain lion – this photograph, incidentally, was also “furnished by Ray Wallace of Toledo, Washington,” according to the back cover.
In the song, we learn quite a few things about our possibly-primate protagonist – he’s the subject of “Indian legends,” has feet twice the size of a normal man, he may be a missing link/extinct/something from a bad dream, he’s a friend of wildlife (feeding raccoons from his hand, chipmunks on his knee, and keeps a pet bear and cougar so he can make his retreat), and he often smiles at attempts by modern man to hunt him.
But more importantly, we finally hear the alleged Bigfoot’s mournful scream (5 times)!
And it truly is a haunting wail worth waiting for.
The back cover of the album shows the cast of a big footprint and contains an informative, seven-paragraph narrative, which recounts the history of Bigfoot in America and across the globe. It also reintroduces Jones’ pal and sheds some light on how he was able to obtain the purported beast howls used on a few tracks on the album:
“Ray Wallace also has taken movie film of the Bigfoot, plus he has taped the real scream of Bigfoot during an attempt to capture him.”
As for the other Bigfoot references on the album, (“Bigfoot & Little Willie Whitecloud,” “Little Bigfoot Journey Home,” etc) they seem to refer to indigenous Americans rather than cryptid man-apes. In “He Watch The Man,” for instance, Jones speaks of the characters watching white settlers arrive, kill off all the buffalo, and so on. In “Mankind,” we learn of visitors who arrive among these forest-dwelling people and “cut their race down.” But Jones blurs the lines several times, including playing a tribal drum beat and traditional powwow type melody underneath his opening ode to Sasquatch.
Be further forewarned, the first track on Side B, “I Believe,” is a little ditty about belief in a higher power and is not in any way Bigfoot related. And, for the record, neither is the next track on the album…”Love Me Tonight.” Whew!