River of Song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi

River of Song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi


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River of Song is a companion double-CD set to a four-part 1999 PBS television series of the various styles of music found along the Mississippi River, from northern Minnesota to the river's mouth in Louisiana. It has 36 complete performances that the documentary makers recorded as part of the project, encompassing Delta blues (Robert Lockwood, Jr.), Native American powwows, Cajun (D.L. Menard) and zydeco (Geno Delafose), New Orleans soul (Irma Thomas), rockabilly (Sonny Burgess), singer/songwriter folk (Greg Brown), bluegrass, gospel, polka, jazz, and less expected things like traditional Swedish, Laotian, and norteño music. There's even alternative rock, via Babes in Toyland (whose selection is frankly ill-fitting), Soul Asylum, and the Bottle Rockets. This might be better seen on film than heard all at once: it covers a full smorgasbord of American music in one go, and although in concept that might be appealing, remember that when you actually eat at smorgasbords, you don't try to sample every last damn dish in the course of one meal. The most unusual items are the Skal Club Spelmanslag's "Red-Headed Swede," with its eerie musical saw; Sonny Burgess' "T for Texas," on which he sounds far more like a genuine soul man than a cult rockabilly singer; and the Memphis Horns and Ann Peebles' "St. Louis Blues," done without a rhythm section. Little Milton, Henry Butler, Levon Helm, James Cotton, Fontella Bass, and John Hartford are some of the other recognizable names contributing to the album. If you're interested, the project also generated a book with the same title as the CD, written by Elijah Wald and John Junkerman, and published by St. Martin's Press.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/17/1998
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074008621
catalogNumber: 40086
Rank: 171992

Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Cotton   Harmonica,Track Performer
Frank Frost   Keyboards
Big Jack Johnson   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
John Hartford   Fiddle,Vocals,Track Performer
Greg Brown   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mississippi Mass Choir   Vocals,Track Performer
Sounds of Blackness   Vocals,Track Performer
Babes in Toyland   Track Performer
Eddie Bo   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Sonny Burgess   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Michael Harris   Guitar
Soul Asylum   Track Performer
Irma Thomas   Vocals,Track Performer
Henry Butler   Piano,Electric Piano,Track Performer
Memphis Horns   Track Performer
Oliver Sain   Keyboards,Saxophone,Vocals,Track Performer
David Curry   Organ
Jerry Smith   Keyboards
Peter Ostroushko   Mandolin
Tony Glover   Harmonica
Robert Lockwood   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Dakota Dave Hull   Guitar
Mary Wilson   Guitar,Vocals
Bottle Rockets   Track Performer
Christine Balfa   Guitar
Fontella Bass   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Byron Bernard   Saxophone
Kat Bjelland   Guitar,Vocals
Little Milton   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mervin Campbell   Trumpet,Vocals
Sterling Campbell   Drums
Sam Carr   Drums
Earl Cate   Guitar
Ernie Cate   Keyboards
Geno Delafose   Accordion,Vocals,Track Performer
Damion Francois   Tuba
Jack Hale   Trombone
Levon Helm   Drums,Vocals,Track Performer
Jimmy Hinds   Bass
Rod Hurt   Rhythm Guitar
Terry Huval   Steel Guitar
Germaine Jack   Drums
Wayne Jackson   Trumpet
Robert Jardell   Accordion
Kern Ray Kennedy   Piano
"Spider" John Koerner   Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Lumar LeBlanc   Snare Drums,Rap
David Leonard   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Bob Lewis   Track Performer
Manny López   Cornet,Track Performer
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone
D.L. Menard   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Derrick Moss   Bass Drums
Karl Mueller   Bass
Joe Mulherin   Trumpet
Willie Murphy   Keyboards
Steve Nash   Rubboard
Ann Peebles   Vocals,Track Performer
Dave Pirner   Guitar,Vocals
Renard Poché   Guitar
David Porter   Bass
Bo Ramsey   Guitar
Jim Spake   Saxophone
William Terry   Saxophone
Wilbert Widow   Drums
Warner Williams   Keyboards
Soul Rebels   Track Performer
Charlie Burton   Guitar
Paul Wilson   Harmonica,Vocals
Lori Barbero   Drums
Joseph "Cookie" Chavis   Guitar
Maureen Herman   Bass
Tom Ray   Acoustic Bass
Sam Scott   Drums
Raymond Weber   Drums
Brian Henneman   Guitar,Vocals
Bruce White   Drums,Vocals
Martha Bass   Vocals,Track Performer
David & Roselyn   Track Performer
Dan Murphy   Guitar
Charles Martin   Vocals
Mark Ortmann   Drums
Alisa Patrick   Vocals
Tom Parr   Rhythm Guitar
Herbert Stevens   Trombone
Winston Turner   Trombone
Kenny Bill Stinson   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mark A. Brooks   Bass
Karl Hartwich   Concertina,Track Performer
Leo Abshire   Fiddle
Jim Aldride   Harmonica
Cindy Allardin   Piano
Arnie Anderson   Saw
Arthur Bell   Guitar
John Mallette   Accordion
Steve Maylor   Trumpet
Aaron Mayo   Vocals
Tewanta Yerington   Piano
Duke Blechler   Vocals
Gerardo E. Bojorquez   Trumpet
Jill Brewington   Vocals
Paul Brown   Piano
Joy Lewis Calhoun   Mandolin
Bill Miller   Fiddle
Becky Menard Moreland   Vocals
Jeff D. Clauss   Trombone
Larry Weathersby   Saxophone
Wilder   Bass
Cannon Williams   Trumpet
Pete White   Drums,Vocals
Chippewa Nation   Track Performer
Skal Club Spelmanslag   Track Performer
Wang Chong Lor   Vocals,Track Performer
Unica Estrella   Track Performer
Eugene Redmond   Track Performer,Recitation
Ste. Genevieve Guignolée Singers   Vocals,Track Performer
Boundless Love Quartet   Track Performer
Irván Pérez   Vocals,Track Performer
Huell Tilley   Vocals
Robert Harvey   Bass
Bobby Lewis   Guitar
John Davies   Bass
Charles Elan   Saxophone
John Esprite   Bass
Rory Ezell   Mandolin,Vocals
Doug Greeno   Bass
William H. Hale   Bass
Emile R. Jr. Hall   Saxophone
Kevin D. Hendrix   Banjo
Jason Hicks   Drums
Richard R. Jimenez   Percussion
Joe Kemper   Fiddle
Douglas Kingbird   Drums,Vocals
Randy Kingbird   Drums,Vocals
Sylvester Lee   Drums
Dewight Levine   Drums
Lil' Bob Lewis   Fiddle,Vocals
Nanette Lewis   Bass,Vocals
Roselyn Lionheart   Vocals,Rumba Box
Gonzalo Lopez   Trumpet
Manny III Lopez   Drums
Nene Lopez   Vocals
Henry Rangel   Guitar
Pedro Rangel   Bass
James Renfroe   Harmonica
David Renko   Saxophone
J.R. Rogers   Guitar
Michael Rota   Drums
Michael Woods   Percussion

Technical Credits

James Cotton   Contributor
Big Jack Johnson   Arranger
Jimmie Davis   Contributor
Merle Haggard   Contributor
John Hartford   Contributor
Jimmie Rodgers   Composer
Greg Brown   Contributor
Mississippi Mass Choir   Contributor
Sounds of Blackness   Contributor
Babes in Toyland   Contributor
Eddie Bo   Contributor
Sonny Burgess   Contributor
Soul Asylum   Contributor
Irma Thomas   Contributor
Henry Butler   Contributor
W.C. Handy   Composer
Memphis Horns   Contributor
Oliver Sain   Arranger,Adaptation
Robert Lockwood   Contributor
Bottle Rockets   Contributor
Fontella Bass   Contributor
Little Milton   Contributor
Geno Delafose   Contributor
Levon Helm   Contributor
Cynthia Johnson   Producer
Paul Johnson   Executive Producer
"Spider" John Koerner   Arranger,Contributor
D.L. Menard   Contributor
Ann Peebles   Contributor
Jerry Ragovoy   Composer
Mark Siegell   Producer
John Tyler   Engineer
Elijah Wald   Producer,Liner Notes
Hillary Wells   Producer
Soul Rebels   Contributor
Greg Hartman   Engineer
Anthony Seeger   Liner Notes
Martha Bass   Contributor
Kevin Wait   Engineer
Keith Falgout   Engineer
Kenny Bill Stinson   Contributor
Jim Medlin   Engineer
Amy Young   Producer
Karl Hartwich   Contributor
Leblanc   Composer
Leah Mahan   Producer
Toshio Murayama   Producer
Gloria Griffin   Composer
Chippewa Nation   Contributor
Skal Club Spelmanslag   Contributor
Wang Chong Lor   Contributor
Eugene Redmond   Contributor
Ste. Genevieve Guignolée Singers   Contributor
Boundless Love Quartet   Contributor
Irván Pérez   Contributor
Lucia Small   Producer
Elizabeth Taylor-Mead   Producer
John Paulson   Engineer
Norman Meade   Composer
Bob Lewis Family   Contributor
John Hiller   Producer
Big Jack Johnson & the Jelly Roll Kings   Contributor
John Junkerman   Director,Producer
Mitsuo Kojima   Executive Producer
Otra Mitad   Contributor
Sylvester Lee   Contributor
Manny Lopez Quintet   Contributor
Matt Sakakeeny   Engineer

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