The musical and cultural meanderings of the Mississippi River, from exploration and trade to romance. Jazz, ragtime, and levee work-songs along with blues, rockabilly, gospel, and country. Guests include the late Memphis soul man Rufus Thomas and ethnomusicologist David Evans, speaking about influential Delta guitarist Charley Patton. Also, we visit a river barge pilot rolls on the river.
How do we “see” sound? Local artist Bruce Brice depicts the big sounds and scenes of New Orleans in murals; and photographer Herman Leonard tells us bout a half century chronicling the greatest jazz players. Plus Lafcadio Hearn’s meditations on the blueing water enroute to the French West Indies.
True Believers in Country Music and the Blues: Grammy-winning, God-fearing man of song Ricky Skaggs talks about his music, specifically his devotion to bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe. Plus, who is Louisiana Red? Iverson Minter is the name on his Mississippi birth certificate; “Red” came with a notorious love of New Orleans hot sauce; and his sound was formed while working in the Pittsburgh, Pa. steel mills. Just as Ricky Skaggs sees his music as an expression of spirituality, Louisiana Red infuses his blues with messages of labor protest and Civil Rights.
As Mardi Gras rolls around again, visit the late king of Krewe du Vieux, R & B hero Ernie K-Doe. Ride high with the oldest women’s Mardi Gras parade, Iris, and get down in the streets with a krewe of dogs in costume, Barkus. Plus Mardi Gras music makers in New Orleans, from Al “Carnival Time” Johnson to Rio’s samba schools.