River of Song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/17/1998
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074008621
  • Catalog Number: 40086
  • Sales rank: 201,632

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Powwow Song (2:47)
  2. 2 22 (3:15)
  3. 3 Sail Away Ladies (3:26)
  4. 4 I Did My Best (3:54)
  5. 5 Red-Headed Swede (3:23)
  6. 6 The Singing Leaf (2:28)
  7. 7 I'll Open My Mouth to the Lord/I'll Be Ready (1:56)
  8. 8 Kim Marie (3:01)
  9. 9 Jazz Me Blues (4:28)
  10. 10 La Unica Estrella (5:26)
  11. 11 Flat Stuff (3:42)
  12. 12 Miss Ferris (3:55)
  13. 13 Born to Be with You (2:17)
  14. 14 Milestone - Eugene Redmond (2:46)
  15. 15 I'm So Grateful (4:20)
  16. 16 Stop Breaking Down (5:10)
  17. 17 Get Down, River (3:02)
  18. 18 La Guignolée (3:43)
Disc 2
  1. 1 The Sweetest Song I Know (2:30)
  2. 2 T for Texas (Blue Yodel No. 1) (3:54)
  3. 3 St. Louis Blues (5:49)
  4. 4 Going Back to Memphis - Levon Helm (4:41)
  5. 5 Take a Little Walk with Me (2:49)
  6. 6 Catfish (2:41)
  7. 7 Shake Your Moneymaker (3:06)
  8. 8 Grits Ain't Groceries (4:19)
  9. 9 We Praise Your Holy Name (5:52)
  10. 10 Taters and Gravy and Chicken-Fried Steak (2:52)
  11. 11 La Back Door (La Porte d'En Arrière) (3:49)
  12. 12 Bon Chien (2:48)
  13. 13 Marie Laveau (3:28)
  14. 14 Basin Street Blues (3:58)
  15. 15 Time Is on My Side (2:45)
  16. 16 Check Your Bucket (4:39)
  17. 17 Let Your Mind Be Free - The Soul Rebels (2:55)
  18. 18 La Vida de un Jaibero (2:49)
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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
The 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
The 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 Jr. Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Dakota Dave Hull Guitar
Mary Wilson Guitar, Vocals
The 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
Michael Woods Percussion
The 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
Al Wilder Bass
Cannon Williams Trumpet
Pete White Drums, Vocals
Chippewa Nation Track Performer
The Skal Club Spelmanslag Track Performer
Wang Chong Lor Vocals, Track Performer
La Unica Estrella Track Performer
Eugene Redmond Track Performer, Recitation
The Ste. Genevieve Guignolée Singers Vocals, Track Performer
The Boundless Love Quartet Track Performer
Irván Pérez Vocals, Track Performer
Huell Tilley Vocals
Robert Harvey Bass
Bobby Lewis Guitar
John Davies Bass
Charles Elan III 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
Technical Credits
James Cotton Contributor
Big Jack Johnson Arranger
Jimmie Davis Contributor
Merle Haggard Contributor
John Hartford Contributor
Jimmie Rodgers Composer
Greg Brown Contributor
The 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
The Memphis Horns Contributor
Oliver Sain Arranger, Adaptation
Robert Lockwood Jr. Contributor
The 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
Charlie Pilzer Mastering
Jerry Ragovoy Composer
Mark Siegell Producer
John Tyler Engineer
Elijah Wald Producer, Liner Notes
Hillary Wells Producer
The 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
The Skal Club Spelmanslag Contributor
Wang Chong Lor Contributor
Eugene Redmond Contributor
The Ste. Genevieve Guignolée Singers Contributor
The 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
La Otra Mitad Contributor
Sylvester Lee Contributor
Manny Lopez Quintet Contributor
Matt Sakakeeny Engineer
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