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All other albums in the series were compilations with various artists. On Sept.

Hovington, however, was kind of reluctant to record again and it took quite a bit of convincing later on until he finally agreed to record for us, but only under the stipulation not to use his real name on the album. While passing thru there on our way to Mississippi we simply called him up and arranged a recording session the next day. I went to Camden, Ms. I managed to talk to him briefly at a local juke joint and he told me that he had joined the church but that did not keep him from still playing the blues.

I think I told both men that I might return to record them — Ziggy and me never did — something I regret to this day. When I got deeper into the blues around I developed a fascination for acapella performances early on. So it was one of my big ambitions to find artists who could still perform such material. The German blues fan Hans Pehl happened to see this festival and he wrote about it for a German Blues magazine.

He mentioned that worksongs were performed by Walter and Joe.

Libby Rae and Bobby Ray Watson, who I had befriended in Mississippi on that trip, had helped to organize that festival. Anyway, I walked up to him and simply asked. When we told the lady at the motel where we were heading out to, she warned us not to go to that part of town! Walter Brown was renting 2 shabby rooms in the back of a building. Brown had no idea where we might find him. So we started the recording session with just Mr. We had absolutely no idea what to expect we had not seen the Lomax movie. However, it turned out that we were extremely lucky that day and I still consider this date, Monday, Oct.

Walter Brown would sing songs he had learned in the levee camps, on the riverboats and during the time he was sentenced for murder at Parchman Farm. With Walter Brown, we had the feeling that he was just waiting for somebody to come around so that he could express himself and get his songs documented. The most outstanding songs, however, that Walter Brown performed for us were the ones that he created and improvised during the recording session. These dealt with episodes from his life — a life that he had led under the brutal conditions of extreme racism and violence.

The frankness with which he describes his road trip thru Mississippi and Louisiana in he was born in is probably without parallel in recorded blues. It is interesting to note that the only other recordings that openly deal with racism and its horrible violence, the effects of poverty and The Civil rights movement, are the ones that J. Lippmann recalled that at that time no producer in the US would have had the courage to record such material.

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Corey Harris, Guy Davis and Alvin Youngblood Hart Keep True Blues Alive | American Blues Scene

Without him funding our field trip, those recordings of Walter Brown and Joe Savage would have never happened! The intensity of the solo recordings by Walter Brown were kinda enhanced by the fact that it was such a gloomy and cold day and he turned his gas stove on to heat up the room. At one point during the session a lady friend of his came around and they started arguing and Ziggy and me thought that we would have to end the session. Brown and Ziggy, however, decided to go back to see about Joe Savage. Luckily, he was at home and they brought him over. The effects of the fight he had gotten into the night before could still be seen.

The physical involvement in his performances was just incredible and almost painful to watch — his face and arms would contort while he was singing. His songs were mostly learned from commercial blues records. We paid both men and then I took some more frames of them together outside and never saw them again after these incredible few hours. I called Walter Brown a few times from Germany, but finally in the lady that would get him to her phone told me that he had passed away. He told me that Joe was in hospital in Jackson, Ms. It was the same house where Joe lived in Just a few weeks later I got the tragic news that both men had burned to death.

They had argued with a neighbor lady about a TV set and she had set their house on fire. In Nov. Shaw was originally from Greenville, Ms. DeWayne Moore of Oxford, Ms. Obviously he was a really wild character and some of the stuff sounds almost straight out of a Hollywood movie!


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After 38 years Ziggy and me are still proud of the fact that we managed to record Walter Brown and Joe Savage. Apart from Alan Lomax obviously no one in the US had any interest in documenting their performances. I feel extremely lucky to have met these two men and today, when I look at the footage of them from The Land Where The Blues Began I have an almost surreal feeling about watching it — I can say that I met them both but only for a few short hours in my life.

By the way, I doubt that Mr. Lomax was familiar with our recordings of them. Log In. Full Name. Confirm Password. Existing User? LOG IN. You have been successfully Logged In! A verification link has been sent on your Email ID.

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