The land where the blues began

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  • Explores the social and cultural background of the blues, including interviews and performances throughout the Mississippi Delta. Includes work songs of the muleskinners in the levee camps, of river roustabouts, of sharecroppers, of churchgoers, and the toasts told in the barrooms.


  • Finished in 1979 and broadcast on PBS in 1980. Re-edited version was broadcast by PBS in 1990 as part of the television series American patchwork. This DVD presents the original version plus more than three hours of additional material.
  • Special features include: video out takes (more than 2 hours of additional music) ; Levee camp interview (first edit) (27:00) ; Making the Land where the blues bagan (25:00) ; Editing the Land where the blues began (5:00) ; Alan Lomax introduction to original broadcast (2:00) ; Making the Land where the blues began (PDF article) ; The land where the blues began transcript (PDF).
  • DVD.
  • English soundtrack (stereo.) with optional English subtitles.


  • Introduction -- Lonnie Pitchford -- Napoleon Strickland -- Jack Owens -- The river -- Eugene Powell -- Sam Chatmon -- The railroad -- The levee -- Prison -- Revival -- Toasts -- Credits
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