Randy’s Newman’s “Lousiana 1927” is the go-to song to commemorate Mississippi River flooding, and a great song it is. But it seems like there should be just as evocative music for the upstream communities afflicted by the river’s destructive power.
We need a song about the flooding of Mississippi County, Mo., after a levee was blown to save Cairo, Ill. The effects of the current flooding on Vicksburg, Miss., manufacturer LeTourneau Technologies could easily inspire a tune.
Maybe Memphis already does have its own flooding song, but if so, it’s not famous. (Mark Cohn, “Swimming in Memphis?”)
In any case, here’s a 1977 performance of Randy Newman and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
And here’s Brothers McIntorsh and Edwards singing “The Flood of 1927” in the black gospel tradition. As John M. Barry’s “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America” recounts, poor African-American farmers suffered immensely from the flood. The dislocation contributed to the northward migration that had an immense impact on U.S. manufacturing.
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