Various Artists

Deep River of Song: Louisiana - Catch That Train and Testify!

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With the impressive girth of Alan Lomax's collection of field recordings and the immediate accessibility of so many of these recordings, choosing a single disc to satiate those curious of the historical significance of Lomax's recordings is near impossible. Deep River of Song: Louisiana - Catch That Train might not be the most logical place to start unless the listener is interested particularly in the unique music of Louisiana, but there are some very important documents here in the context of folk music, most notably the interview with Jelly Roll Morton at the end of the collection. Many of the tracks here are absolutely ferocious and upbeat a cappella ring shouts, but some early zydeco also appears here, as well as early Leadbelly recordings and musical contributions by Morton. What Lomax caught on tape over his long career of traveling is absolutely unbelievable, and Deep River of Song: Louisiana - Catch That Train is certainly no exception -- a priceless window into a time when music was a way of life, a style of communication, a working man's companion, and a celebratory, interactive way to pass the time.

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