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.
 
Ex-roustabout and levee-camp laborer Walter Brown recalls his work roustabouting on the Katy Adams and the Tennessee Belle steamboats and "rocking" his load. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Walter Brown sings a roustabout holler and discusses steamboat whistles from boat to boat, and their effects on local women, with William S. Hart and Bill Gordon. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Ex-roustabout and levee-camp laborer Walter Brown discusses "playboys," who surreptitiously stayed with roustabouts' women when they were away on the boats, and payday on the river. With William S. Hart and Bill Gordon. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     
 
Ex-roustabouts and levee-camp laborers Walter Brown and Arthur (last name unknown) sing roustabout hollers and discuss (and re-enact) "rocking the load" off the steamboats. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
Ex-roustabouts and levee-camp laborers Walter Brown and Arthur (last name unknown) sing roustabout hollers and discuss (and re-enact) "rocking the load" off the steamboats. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
     

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