TRUE BELIEVERS AND HARDWORKING TROUBADOURS: POST-PUNK FOLKSINGER, LEE BAINS, & SWAMP POP HERO, TOMMY MCLAIN
For Labor Day weekend, it’s true believers and hardworking troubadours. First, Lee Bains, Birmingham, Alabama’s post-punk folksinger whose songs seek social justice, inclusive humanity and protection of the environs as a sacred quest. Then, octogenarian Louisiana Swamp Pop hero Tommy McLain, who brought his classic ’60s songs and music mix of country, blues, rock and gospel to clubs and casinos, now recording with Elvis Costello and touring with Nick Lowe. Plus music from Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, and Marcia Ball.
It’s back to the Golden Age of doo wop and classic songs of the era from Black and White groups. A conversation with Dion DiMucci, the Bronx born and raised singer who made his name first with his neighborhood group the Belmonts. We talk about his Italian American roots and his love of the blues, plus his life in music. Then, we explore the roads to doowop from gospel quartets, R&B and jazz including songs by Sam Cooke, The Mills Brothers and Jimmy Reed.
On this archive summertime edition of American Routes, we treat you to two very cool guests. Mississippi-born and Chicago-bred legend Bo Diddley talks about his songs “I’m a Man,” “Who Do You Love,” and that signature Bo Diddley beat. Tony Joe White comes up from the swamps to play an acoustic version of “Polk Salad Annie,” among other tunes. Plus, a refreshing visit to a local New Orleans favorite, Hansen’s Sno Bliz, servin’ up the best sno-cones you’ve ever tasted.
We listen for poetry in music and music in poetry, songs as poems and poems as songs with Langston Hughes, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Ken Nordine. Plus, a visit to New York’s City Lore with poet-folklorist Steve Zeitlin, who rides the POEMobile to the People’s Poetry Gathering and then back to New Orleans to meet Louisiana’s poet laureate, Mona Lisa Saloy.
CARIBBEAN CRUISE & SOUTH LOUISIANA SOJOURN: GARIFUNA GUITARIST AURELIO & CREOLE ACCORDIONIST CEDRIC WATSON
It’s a Caribbean sonic voyage with singer-guitarist and social leader Aurelio, who grew up in the traditional Afro-Indigenous Garifuna culture of coastal Honduras and now lives part time in the Bronx, NY. He’s a global ambassador for Garifuna culture and a member of the Honduran congress. Then live in-studio, the young Louisiana fiddler, accordionist, singer, Cedric Watson and his band Bijou Creole play La-La and zydeco soul. Plus: Kid Ory‘s New Orleans jazz; reggae songman, Jimmy Cliff; Cuban descarga from Cachao; and the Trinidad calypso hero Mighty Sparrow.
Main Image: Aurelio in Corozal village, Honduras. Photo Credit: Sarah Weeden