Engineers include: John Tyler, John Paulson, Matt Sakakeeny.
Recorded between 1995 & 1997. Includes liner notes by Anthony Seeger and Elija Wald.
Adapter: Oliver Sain.
Personnel: David Leonard (vocals, guitar, harmonica); D.L. Menard, Dave Pirner, Greg Brown, Kat Bjelland, Kenny Bill Stinson, Little Milton, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sonny Burgess , Big Jack Johnson, Mary Wilson , Brian Henneman (vocals, guitar); "Spider" John Koerner (vocals, 12-string guitar); Rory Ezell (vocals, mandolin); Lil' Bob Lewis, John Hartford (vocals, fiddle); Paul Wilson (vocals, harmonica); Geno Delafose (vocals, accordion); Oliver Sain (vocals, saxophone, keyboards); Mervin Campbell (vocals, trumpet); Eddie Bo, Fontella Bass (vocals, piano); Douglas Kingbird, Randy Kingbird, Pete White, Levon Helm, Bruce White (vocals, drums); Alisa Patrick, Charles Martin, Roselyn Lionheart, Nene Lopez, Jill Brewington, Duke Blechler, Huell Tilley, Aaron Mayo, Nanette Lewis, Irma Thomas, Irv n P‚rez, Becky Menard Moreland, Martha Bass, The Mississippi Mass Choir, Ann Peebles, Sounds of Blackness, The Ste. Genevieve Guignol‚e Singers, Wang Chong Lor (vocals); Lumar LeBlanc (rap vocals, snare drum); Christine Balfa, Dakota Dave Hull, Dan Murphy, Joseph "Cookie" Chavis, J.R. Rogers, Arthur Bell, Earl Cate, Bobby Lewis, Henry Rangel, Michael Harris, Renard Poch‚, Bo Ramsey, Charlie Burton (guitar); Terry Huval (steel guitar); Kevin D. Hendrix (banjo); Joy Lewis Calhoun, Peter Ostroushko (mandolin); Joe Kemper, Bill Miller , Leo Abshire (fiddle); James Renfroe, Jim Aldride, James Cotton , Tony Glover (harmonica); John Mallette, Robert Jardell (accordion); Karl Hartwich (concertina); Charles Elan III, Emile R. Jr. Hall, David Renko, Larry Weathersby, William Terry, Byron Bernard, Jim Spake (saxophone); Andrew Love (tenor saxophone); Cannon Williams, Gerardo E. Bojorquez, Gonzalo Lopez, Steve Maylor, Joe Mulherin, Wayne Jackson (trumpet); Manny L¢pez (cornet); Winston Turner, Jeff D. Clauss, Herbert Stevens, Jack Hale (trombone); Damion Francois (tuba); Henry Butler (piano, electric piano); Cindy Allardin, Paul Brown, Tewanta Yerington, Kern Ray Kennedy (piano); David Curry (organ); Frank Frost, Ernie Cate, Jerry Smith, Warner Williams, Willie Murphy (keyboards); Tom Ray (acoustic bass); Dewight Levine, Jason Hicks, Manny III Lopez, Mark Ortmann, Germaine Jack, Lori Barbero, Michael Rota, Wilbert Widow, Sam Carr, Sam Scott, Sterling Campbell, Sylvester Lee, Raymond Weber (drums); Derrick Moss (bass drum); Steve Nash (rub-board); Richard R. Jimenez, Michael Woods (percussion); Arnie Anderson (musical saw).
Audio Mixers: Greg Hartman; Kevin Wait; Pete Reiniger; Ronnie Freeland.
Liner Note Authors: Elijah Wald; Anthony Seeger.
Recording information: Arnie Anderson's Living Roo (02/15/1995-11/05/1997); First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (02/15/1995-11/05/1997); Inger, MN (02/15/1995-11/05/1997); Minneapolis, MN (02/15/1995-11/05/1997); Palmer's Bar, Minneapolis, MN (02/15/1995-11/05/1997).
Director: John Junkerman.
Editors: Todd Hulslander; Joanna Champagne.
Photographers: Brett Wiley; Theo Pelletier; Foster Wiley; Joan Churchill.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Chippewa Nation; D.L. Menard; Eddie Bo; Karl Hartwich; Fontella Bass; Geno Delafose; Greg Brown; Big Jack Johnson & the Jelly Roll Kings; Henry Butler; Eugene Redmond; Irma Thomas; Irv n P‚rez; Jimmie Davis; James Cotton ; John Hartford; Kenny Bill Stinson; La Otra Mitad; Levon Helm; Little Milton; Martha Bass; Merle Haggard; The Mississippi Mass Choir; Ann Peebles; Robert Lockwood, Jr.; Sonny Burgess ; Soul Asylum; The Soul Rebels; Sounds of Blackness; "Spider" John Koerner; Sylvester Lee; Bob Lewis Family; The Boundless Love Quartet; Manny Lopez Quintet; The Memphis Horns; Babes in Toyland; The Skal Club Spelmanslag; The Ste. Genevieve Guignol‚e Singers; Wang Chong Lor; The Bottle Rockets.
Arrangers: Oliver Sain; "Spider" John Koerner; Big Jack Johnson.
River of Song is a companion double-CD set to a four-part 1999 PBS television series of the various styles of music found along the Mississippi River, from northern Minnesota to the river's mouth in Louisiana. It has 36 complete performances that the documentary makers recorded as part of the project, encompassing Delta blues (Robert Lockwood, Jr.), Native American powwows, Cajun (D.L. Menard) and zydeco (Geno Delafose), New Orleans soul (Irma Thomas), rockabilly (Sonny Burgess), singer/songwriter folk (Greg Brown), bluegrass, gospel, polka, jazz, and less expected things like traditional Swedish, Laotian, and norte¤o music. There's even alternative rock, via Babes in Toyland (whose selection is frankly ill-fitting), Soul Asylum, and the Bottle Rockets. This might be better seen on film than heard all at once: it covers a full smorgasbord of American music in one go, and although in concept that might be appealing, remember that when you actually eat at smorgasbords, you don't try to sample every last damn dish in the course of one meal. The most unusual items are the Skal Club Spelmanslag's "Red-Headed Swede," with its eerie musical saw; Sonny Burgess' "T for Texas," on which he sounds far more like a genuine soul man than a cult rockabilly singer; and the Memphis Horns and Ann Peebles' "St. Louis Blues," done without a rhythm section. Little Milton, Henry Butler, Levon Helm, James Cotton, Fontella Bass, and John Hartford are some of the other recognizable names contributing to the album. If you're interested, the project also generated a book with the same title as the CD, written by Elijah Wald and John Junkerman, and published by St. Martin's Press. ~ Richie Unterberger