Mississippi Delta & Hill Country (1978)

Bluesmen; fife-and-drum ensembles; former muleskinners and railroad tie-tampers; and tall-tale reciters. Performers include Skip James collaborator Jack Owens, former Mississippi Sheik Sam Chatmon, diddley-bow player Lonnie Pitchford, fife legend Otha Turner, and R. L. Burnside in his first film appearance.

 

 
"Dangerous Blues," 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 September 2, 1978.
 
Joe Savage recalls breaking out of the Rosedale jail, his time spent at Parchman Farm (the Mississippi State Penitentiary) at Lambert Camp and Camp 1, and his work with a contrary white mule. He sings several field holler verses. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
 
 
Joe Savage, former muleskinner and Parchman Farm inmate, sings a holler called "Texas Is My Home." Introduced by Walter Brown and Arthur [last name unknown]. Shot by Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop, September 2, 1978, on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi.
 
89-year-old Lucius Smith (vocal and banjo) performs the minstrel tune "I'm Goin' Back to Jiles County," with accompaniment by Jessie Mae Hemphill (off-camera) on tamborine. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long at Smith's home in Sardis, Mississippi, August 28, 1978.
 
A performance by the Mighty Gospel Clouds at an unidentified A.M.E. church in Arkabutla, Mississippi. (The Clouds were identified at the taping as being from Coldwater, Mississippi, although groups with the same names also hailed from Detroit and Marvin, Georgia. They may or may not be the same group that recorded for the Champ label. Any information about them would be much appreciated.)
 
Mississippi Hill Country multi-instrumentalist Napolian Strickland dances with a folding chair between his teeth; a friend attempts it too. Shot by Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop at a picnic in Como, August 25, 1978.

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