Bayou Underground: Tracing the Mythical Roots of American by Dave Thompson

By Dave Thompson

Permeating the shadows and the darkness of the bayou is —a international all its personal that stretches from Houston, Texas, to cellular, Alabama. This learn of marsh tune leaves New Orleans to find mystery legends and brilliant mythology within the surrounding wasteland. the folks and the cultures that experience known as the bayou home— comparable to Bob Dylan, Jerry Reed, Nick Cave, Bo Didley, and a one-armed Cajun backwoodsman and gator hunter named Amos Moses— are unearthed not just via their very own phrases and lives but additionally via a examine in their tune and interviews with viewers to and citizens from the quarter. The interviews with Jerry Reed and Bo Didley, who either died in 2008, are one of the final, emphasizing the book’s significance as a bit of cultural protection. half social historical past, half epic travelogue, and in part a lament for how of lifestyles that has now all yet disappeared, this can be the gripping tale of yank music’s forgotten childhood— and the parentage it slightly even knows.

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With Dad coaching the Newborn brothers, the Finas Newborn Orchestra left no stone unturned, musically or otherwise. But it was tiring, even for musically inclined teenagers like the Newborn brothers. m. m. they’d be playing live. Hardly surprisingly, Calvin would break the routine by cutting class and going to the band room. “I think the bandmaster, Mr. Mack (Professor W. T. McDaniel), 23 DAVE THOMPSON was partial to me because of Junior, who was a year ahead of me and probably the most gifted student Mr.

Somehow, I thought it might be. If there’s a voodoo legend in Louisiana, Marie Laveau is usually behind it. Not because she was behind it, but because she’s the only DAVE THOMPSON Voodoo Queen that the tour guides and the storytellers know that we out-oftowners might have heard of. And I do suspect that this is another instance of that, not only because the real Laveau died a good 19 years before Blind Joe was even born, but also because you have to wonder what the Witch Queen of New Orleans was ever doing all the way up in Tallulah in the first place.

Maybe that’s why he got out of town whenever he could, even flitting across the river to Vicksburg, Mississippi, when the heat was on, and the only thing that kept him out of even more trouble was the fact he was already strumming a mean guitar. A guy named Hey Willie — because that’s what people shouted when they saw him — was Reynolds’ first teacher, Hey Willie and a fiddler whom everyone called Deaf John. Maybe because he was. But Blind Joe Reynolds outshone them all, and, even before he started playing for cash in Vicksburg, he was taking trips out to KansasKansas — not the city or the state, but a godforsaken hole on the railroad tracks where the rail men gathered for rotgut and girls.

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