Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Headcoats: Louis Riel

History is fickle.

Though the Government of Canada executed Metis rebel leader Louis Riel for high treason in 1885 ("Though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour" said our first Prime Minister, Sir John A McDonald), we Manitobans now get a statutory holiday in the ass-crack of winter to celebrate him as the founder of our Keystone Province. I could tell you why this change of fortunes isn't mere historical revisionism (also known in more hysterical circles as "Political correctness gone wild!") but is in fact par for the course in the creation of national historical narratives or I could play you some obscure rock n' roll by an under-appreciated English eccentric. I don't even have to tabulate the votes, do I?

So, fickle madames et monsieurs, in celebration of this holiday (randomly placed on the third Monday in February), here's British garage-punk legend Billy Childish and his Headcoats, garbling "Louie, Louie" into "Louis Riel".

Louis Riel 7"

Support Billy Childish!
Damaged Goods

(We'll return to part two of Graham Parker's That's How You Know tomorrow)


  1. Whoa that's pretty wild, especially that the this is a song by a Brit. I mean I'm sure that outside of Canada Louis Riel is probably an even more obscure Political figure.

    Thanks for posting this! Louis Riel's grave is one of the few places I can locate in Winnipeg (In that burned out Church in St. Boniface)

  2. Love this 7" . I picked up the 3 lp archive set a couple weeks back . Happy to get the Louis Riel on mp3 . Thanks !

  3. Ian
    He is more obscure, ho9weevr the other 'significant' song about him is by Texan Doug Sahm. Glad you can locate St. B - that's where I live!

    Glad you got to celebrate Louis Riel Day, mp3 style

  4. Thanks! The song (and curiosity) drew me here, but that Historica video clip is powerful. If the nation's capital now has a Louis Riel high school, Riel won, in the end...


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