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Blues In The Mississippi Night - Lomax

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Severn 24 Jul 08 - 06:04 PM
Michael S 24 Jul 08 - 05:24 PM
PoppaGator 24 Jul 08 - 04:12 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jul 08 - 04:00 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 06 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Sep 06 - 03:05 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 22 Sep 06 - 01:33 PM
jukejointeddie 22 Sep 06 - 12:43 PM
masato sakurai 26 Sep 01 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Rob 25 Sep 01 - 10:04 PM
TheOldMole 18 Jan 00 - 11:49 AM
Art Thieme 18 Jan 00 - 11:30 AM
Brian Hoskin 18 Jan 00 - 07:49 AM
Stewie 17 Jan 00 - 09:50 PM
TheOldMole 17 Jan 00 - 12:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Lomax
From: Severn
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 06:04 PM


Ironically, I went into a local Used record store just a few hours ago to sell off some excess stuff I had and saw a CD copy of the recording of which you speak, for $1.99 and decided to buy it at that price to upgrade my cassette copy (which I'd found for 25 cents at a library sale). If you want a cassette copy, PM me your address and I'll send my newly redundant one one to you.

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Lomax
From: Michael S
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 05:24 PM

Blues in the Mississippi Night, from Rounder

--Michael Scully
--Austin, Texas

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Lomax
From: PoppaGator
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 04:12 PM

Joe, that pasted-in review is not entirely visible on the screen ~ not on my 17" monitor, anyway. The words don't re-wrap, and the Mudcat screen does not provide a left-to-right "slider" to pan across the display, only an up-and-down one. Even when I maximize the window to take up the full screen, the right-hand side of the column is cut off and invisible.

I've never encountered this phenomenon before, certainly not here on this site. Wonder how it could happen, whether there's a solution, etc...
    Ooops!!! Well, it looked OK on my 32" monitor. I think it should be OK now - right?

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Amazon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 04:00 PM

Is anybody familiar wiht this recording? I don't have the album, and somebody asked me this:
    On this record Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and the harmonica player who does "Mr Downchild" are talking about an incident in Arkansas - a massacre of an entire black family, actually - and I tried to find out about it using the info on that recording, and there is no record of the town or the family mentioned. Have you heard this on that recording???
Can anybody shed more light on the incident in question?
Here's a review that may be of interest:

Blues In The Mississippi Night
Featuring Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson

Various Artists

Rounder 82161-1860-2

Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140 USA

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark O'Donnell

Racism remains a dominant reality and challenge in American life and culture. Most would agree that much progress has been made over the fifty years since the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Most would agree that there is much more work that is required before all people are treated fairly and where equality is the norm. Now this is an admittedly provocative approach to reviewing an album, but has particular relevance to the disc in question. In 1947, Alan Lomax sat with three prominent bluesmen and, as was his habit, recorded them at his home in Greenwich Village after they had performed at Town Hall in New York City. What followed that evening were a series of conversations that for that time and place were both frank...and dangerous.

Blues In The Mississippi Night, the resultant recording, is really more of a documentary than a pure musical album. Starting conventionally enough with "Life Is Like That" featuring all three of the artists, it then moves into a commentary explaining what the blues are. Much of the initial conversation is, for blues aficionados, not unusual in that it lays out in terms that are safe the basis of the blues-good, but general explanations for the origins of some of their tunes. With the advent of a very emotional field recording of a call and holler, Lining Hymn, the conversation begins to deepen.

With every succeeding conversation continuance, the emotional deepening continues until the musicians start really touching their personal real life experiences in ways that, were they to be made known to the communities, the white communities, in which they live, would have seriously endangered their lives. This is, in part, why these recordings were so long in being released. Until this country had matured beyond the level of 1947, these conversations would have been death warrants.

The music, when it occurs, is often in the course of conversation as in Levee Camp and Prison Songs/Conversation Continues and this allows the conversation to flow and the stories of these very challenged lives to come alive. When the straight musical interludes occur, one enjoys them but waits for the conversation to start up again. This is not to demean the music, it is fine and moving. How could it be otherwise with three such seminal figures? Still it is the story of their lives, told outside the music, which is the heart of this very unusual disc. The documentary feel is periodically and well reinforced by the inclusion of the field hollers (mentioned above), O 'Berta and Don't You Hear Your Po' Mother Callin'? (chain gang choruses), and Murderer's Home (prison gang singing). This is really where the contribution of Alan Lomax is most apparent. These field recordings are his work traveling and recording throughout the south, in this case, in Mississippi. What you have are three insightful artists speaking of their experiences working on plantations and for the company store; working the prison farms; the petty hassling by the white community leaders; the allegiances created with white plantation owners that provided relative safety and protection; the lack of interest by the white community in blacks killing blacks; how people who speak up for themselves are categorized as "crazy" for doing so because of the danger to themselves and their community; how whole communities were held hostage when the "crazy" person could not be directly punished/killed; the sense of ownership and entitlement that the white power structure had and the impunity with which they wielded that power; the creativity required to survive and/or escape life in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. They are personal stories that, as the three men get increasingly comfortable with each other and the microphone, flow as natural conversations with depth and meaning beyond any other blues recording you are likely to have heard. The CD may not be a traditional blues disc, but it approaches the blues in a way that complements any blues recording you may have and love. Bottom line is that these were brave and creative artists expressing themselves in ways that you have never heard before and will never again, a seminal recording. The conversations are such that you forget that you have purchased a music disc.

This documentary has been issued to much acclaim a couple of times. This latest CD reissue has the bonus of an added unreleased track by Big Bill Broonzy on acoustic guitar. It serves as a commentary summary of the complicated relationships between blacks, whites and the blues. The recording serves as a reminder of how much we owe to African American culture and to Alan Lomax for giving us the opportunity to appreciate it.

Track List:

  • Life Is Like That
  • Conversation Begins
  • Lining Hymn
  • Conversation Continues
  • I Could Hear My name Ringin'
  • Conversation Continues
  • Levee Camp and Prison Songs/Conversation Continues
  • Stackalee
  • O 'Berta
  • Conversation Continues

  • Murderer's Home
  • Conversation Continues
  • Don't You Hear Po' Mother Callin'?
  • Conversation Continues
  • Slow Blues
  • Conversation Continues
  • Conversation Continues
  • Fast Boogie
  • Black
  • Brown and White Blues
Playing time: 55'41"

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Amazon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 03:23 AM

The Blues in the Mississippi Night available at Amazon in the US is on the Rounder label, part of their Alan Lomax collection. It has no recordings by Vera Ward Hall - but the Deep River of Song: Alabama CD from Rounder has "Another Man Done Gone" and several more cuts by Hall.
If you buy 10 CD's from the Lomax Collection, you can get them for ten bucks apiece at

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Amazon
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 03:05 PM

The Vera Hall track may also be available on the Rounder Record Label in their on-going series of Alan Lomax Recordings. Might be worth checking out.

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Subject: RE: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Amazon
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 01:33 PM

The listing mostly seem to be as above without Vera Hall.

However Amazon Germany appear to have a copy for sale with Another Man Done Gone: Blues In The Mississippi Night (I've used often for classical guitar records from them and their sellers and always had good service).

The Vera Hall track is available elsewhere eg Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings


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Subject: Blues In The Mississippi Night - Amazon
From: jukejointeddie
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 12:43 PM

Hi - me again. I am trying to purchase Blues in the Mississippi Night which was released on Ryko Disc a few years back. The copy, according to the list of songs they provide, is missing Vera Hall's version of "Another Man Done Gone". I am hoping that this is a mistake on the web page. I want to purchase the record, but not if that song is missing... Can nyone help me out on this? Is it an oversight, or does this release of the record have the song???


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Subject: RE: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Sep 01 - 06:05 AM

Some info from other sites.

(1) Blues In the Mississippi Night: An Interview with Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy and Sonny Boy Williamson (Rykodisc, 1990)
Folklorist Alan Lomax recorded this amazing interview in the 1940s with three great bluesmen of this century. It gives a glimpse into how the blues evolved from songs created in response to conditions at prison farms and contract labor camps; songs created to make the back-breaking work in the sun somewhat more tolerable. In this selection, the three men discuss working conditions in a contract labor camp; conditions which, as you'll hear, were not much better than slavery the century before.

From this.

(2) Review of Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta. This was first published by Viking/Penguin in 1981. Robert Palmer edited a video on the field trip with the same title, the content not being the same. Also interesting.


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Subject: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: GUEST,Rob
Date: 25 Sep 01 - 10:04 PM

I am looking for any insight to the cd above mentioned. Comments from dedicated Blues listeners. Aswell, if your familiar with the book Deep Blues , by Robert Palmer... thank you rob

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Subject: RE: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: TheOldMole
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 11:49 AM

Thanks, folks. Sequel Records seems to have disappeared...all the links to it come up empty. I put in an order with Tower -- they explain that their "special order" means "Maybe we'll get it for you, maybe not."

The Old Mole

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Subject: RE: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 11:30 AM

These were very dangerous things to say back then. The participants utterances could've gotten them killed in the U.S. south back then. The tapes were made by Allan Lomax. Some of them have been incorporated into an amazing recent book by Mr. Lomax. THE LAND WHERE THE BLUES BEGAN------published by Pantheon--1993

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 07:49 AM

If you can't get it there, it was also out on Sequel Records (NEX CD 122).


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Subject: RE: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 09:50 PM

Tower Records have it available on special order for about $US10:

Cheers, Stewie.

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Subject: Blues in the Mississippi Night
From: TheOldMole
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 12:27 PM

I'm trying to get hold of this album, reissued on Ryko a couple of years ago, now apparently out of print again. It featured conversation and impromptu songs from Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson.

Any suggestions?


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