In this special program, we visit Angola, the notorious plantation-turned-penitentiary, to hear stories and songs from within the prison's walls. We talk with saxophonist Charles Neville about serving time at the "Farm" during the Jim Crow era, playing with fellow inmates in the Nic Nacs, and the role of music in integrating prison life. We hear previously unreleased Harry Oster field recordings of Mardi Gras Indian chants and bebop jazz from Angola in the late-50s. And we go on-site for interviews and performances with contemporary Angola musicians. Plus, we explore the popular tradition of prison music from singing inmates like Leadbelly and Merle Haggard to live performances from Johnny Cash at San Quentin and B.B. King at Cook County Jail. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
The great Texas river city is a mix of Mexican, German, Anglo and African American cultures, among others. Home to the Texas Conjunto Festival and the International Accordion Festival, San Antonio is best known for Tex-Mex or Tejano music played by squeeze box masters like Flaco Jimenez, Narciso Martinez and Mingo Saldivar among many. We'll speak with Flaco, who in collaborations with Doug Sahm, Ry Cooder, and Los Super Seven, has carried the music worldwide. "Chicano brown-eyed soul" performers like Sunny and the Sunliners and other groups describe music that connected New Orleans and Louisiana Swamp Pop with San Antonio and East Los Angeles. We'll also talk with Vox organ legend Augie Meyers who worked in the high hippie era with Doug Sahm as part of the Sir Douglas Quintet and later in the Texas Tornadoes. The conversation comes full circle with Max Baca, the leader and bajo sexto player of Los Texmaniacs who was influenced by both Flaco and Doug Sahm. The Grammy-winning family band sticks with tradition, but finds ways to include country, blues and rock. Plus music from Sam the Sham, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Freddie Fender and Willie Nelson. Vamos!
We'll remember the late singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, through his music and his own words. Then a visit to Rugby, VA for a close listen into sustainable guitars and ukuleles, made by Jayne and Wayne Henderson, of Henderson Guitars.
Tune in and rock the blues with two guitar men who do it with great authority. First up is Arkansas wild man and original Sun Records rockabilly Sonny Burgess who tore it up, playing his hits "We Wanna Boogie," "Red-Headed Woman" and others well into his eighties, before passing away last month. And hear a live set from the late great New Orleans bluesman and human jukebox Snooks Eaglin, recorded in 2007 at his home base, the famous Rock 'N' Bowl nightclub, where one can do either of those, or both, at the same time. Feel the beat in blues, jazz, Western swing and more with a music mix designed to rock your blues away.
This week on American Routes we bring you music from the festival stage and the clubs of South Louisiana. We visit some of our favorite nighttime musical haunts in New Orleans and spend time with guitar man Ernie Vincent and jazz historian Bruce Raeburn. Then, allons a Lafayette for the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, south Louisiana's annual celebration of Cajun and Creole music, food and culture. We'll hear classic performances from the early days of the festival, talk with founder and scholar Barry Ancelet and sample some of the sights and sounds from the festival grounds.