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Archive for the 'oral culture' Category

We roll into Top Notch’s neighborhood in the early afternoon to film our first interview for our documentary about his community and his work. It’s the day after the Fourth of July and a trio of boys around the age of 11 are shooting off bottle rockets while walking down the street. They watch as […]

George Hines discusses Early Wright’s legacy “This is Hines in the mornin’ times at WROX, the station that Early Wright built. George Hines, Hines, Hines on your radi-yi-yo. NO! There is nothing wrong with your radi-yi-yo. We are simply…jammin’!” –George Hines, WROX Station Manager Rumor had it that WROX, the famous old Clarksdale radio station, […]

We’ve wandered into the high hill country that adjoins the Delta to the east to enjoy a music festival featuring hill country artists T-Model Ford, Bobby Rush, Robert Belfour, Kenny Brown and members of the renowned Kimbrough and Burnside families.  The family of Othar Turner, the beloved hill country fife-and-drum musician, is also present today. […]

Back in Red’s, only this time it’s for an actual blues party. Big Jack “Oilman” Johnson, the revered bluesman from Clarksdale whose secondary legacy was driving the town’s biggest fuel truck, has agreed to play a short, early set. The crowd swells to fifteen at around 8 p.m. when Big Jack begins to tune his […]

I guess I’m feeling a little guilty as I step into church today. I push the tall boy Budweiser and red-lit posters from the night before to the edges of my mind as I cross the holy threshold of St. James Temple. Church of God in Christ, or COGIC, is a Pentecostal denomination that was […]

I spend my first night back in the Delta within the close walls of Red’s juke joint just across the tracks—those ubiquitous railroad tracks–in black downtown Clarksdale dubbed “the New World District.” The club is situated, in the words of its proprietor, “with the river behind me and the graveyard in front of me,” and […]

I’m heading from my home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Clarksdale, Mississippi to continue my fieldwork in the music and folklore of the Mississippi Delta. This time, I’m meeting Brian Graves, another UNC graduate student who has done extensive work on James Island, South Carolina, to produce a documentary on the relationship of hip-hop […]