On the Greenville Levee (1978)

In the summer of 1978, Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long spent two days on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, interviewing Walter Brown, Joe Savage, Bill Gordon, and William S. Hart -- former levee-camp laborers, river roustabouts, and Parchman Farm inmates. The result was a remarkable collection of reminiscences, tall tales, field hollers, and oral history preserved on two hours of video tape, presented in its original order here.

 

     
 
A shack-rouster song that would have awakened levee-camp laborers. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 1: discussion of the construction of the levee system, mule teams, the commissary, the work week, and specific jobs and positions in the camp. With Walter Brown, Bill Gordon, and William S. Hart. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Former muleskinner Walter Brown tells the story of a particular payday in the Greenville levee camp. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Former muleskinner Walter Brown recites a rhyme recalling a particular payday in the Greenville levee camp. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 2: discussion of mules and the "mercy man." With Walter Brown, Bill Gordon, and William S. Hart. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Former levee camp workers (and, in Savage's case, Parchman Farm inmate) trade levee camp holler verses on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long, August 22, 1978.
     

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