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 field holler sung by Joe Savage, former muleskinner and Parchman Farm inmate, on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi. Shot by Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop, on August 22, 1978.
 
A muleskinner holler sung by Walter Brown. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 6: Discussion of "mercy man" Charley Loran as Jesse James and recollections of personal experiences with Loran. With Walter Brown and William S. Hart. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 7: Discussion of whipping mules, the role of the foreman, and working conditions. With Walter Brown, William S. Hart, and Bill Gordon. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 8: Discussion of working conditions, levee camp bosses, and working for a "drag." With Walter Brown, William S. Hart, Bill Gordon. Joe Savage sings a holler about payday. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Levee camp conversation, pt. 9: Discussion of the "privileged penitentiary," why men worked in the levee camps, "table walkers," and self-defense. With Walter Brown, William S. Hart, Bill Gordon, and Joe Savage. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     

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