Description: Levee camp conversation, pt. 5: Walter Brown explains how to communicate with the camp mules, and sings a fragment of a muleskinner holler. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978.
About the session: Bluesmen; fife-and-drum ensembles; former muleskinners and railroad tie-tampers; and tall-tale reciters. Performers include Skip James collaborator Jack Owens, diddley-bow player Lonnie Pitchford, fife legend Otha Turner, and R. L. Burnside in his first film appearance.
About the session: 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. (This footage is part of the 1978 Mississippi collection but in order to maintain the conversation's original running order, it's also presented separately here.)
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