“Tryin’ to Make Heaven My Home” Viola James & Congregation. African American spiritual. Recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959 in Tyro, Mississippi. Source: Southern Journey: 61 Highway Mississippi, vol. 3 (Rounder Records, 1997).
“Stewball” Unidentified Prisoners at Oakley, Mississippi. Recorded by John Lomax in 1939. The original version of this leader-response work song was an Irish ballad about a legendary race horse named Skewball. This song took several forms in America — one, the Kentucky racing horse ballad “Molly and Tenbroek,” and the other this work song known in various parts of the South. Source: Jail House Bound (Orchard Enterprises, 2014).
“Field Holler“ by Thomas J. Marshall. Recorded by Alan Lomax at Edwards, Mississippi, 1939. Source: Negro Works Songs and Calls (Library of Congress, Archive of Folk Culture. Rounder Records, 1999).
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“Parchman Farm Blues,” Bukka White, vocal and guitar. Washboard Sam, washboard. LYRICS Recorded in 1940 in Chicago. This songs tells of experiences widely shared by African American men of White’s generation on Mississippi’s oppressive prison farm. Source: News & the Blues (CBS Records, 1990).
This song, one of the first that McDowell recorded for Lomax, concerns the north-south highway that runs from Chicago to Memphis to the Gulf of Mexico, a road of adventure and escape for the blacks of the mid-South. Fred McDowell of Como, Mississippi treats it in the free style of the old-time country bluesmen, sliding the bottleneck with his left hand to double the melodic part, and playing a complex African-like polyrhythm with his right hand. Source: Southern Journey: 61 Highway Mississippi, vol. 3 (Rounder Records, 1997)
“Third Degree” Joe Savage (1978). From “The Land Where the Blues Began.” Joe Savage, former muleskinner and Parchman Farm inmate, on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi. Recorded by Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop, on September 2, 1978.
“Third Degree,” Eric Clapton, guitar, vocal; Dave Bronze, bass guitar; Jim Keltner, drums; Andy Fairweather Low, guitar; Chris Stainton, keyboards. Live recording, 1994. Source: From the Cradle (Reprise/Time Warner, 1994) LYRICS
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