Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

River Of Song

Turn on your radio, relax, and float downstream this week on Afterglow.

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River song

Photo: Flickr

Navigating waterways moonlit and otherwise on this edition of Afterglow.

Rivers have long been a symbolic source of inspiration, romance, travel, adventure, hope, history, and other broad themes, so it’s easy to understand why songwriters have often been attracted to them. Frank Sinatra, Julie London, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong are just a few of the artists we’ll hear performing tunes that invoke rivers; we’ll also hear some river songs from the pop-rock era, including Nick Drake’s “River Man” and Joni Mitchell’s “River,” with the songwriter joined by pianist Herbie Hancock.

Music Heard On This Episode

Swanee River
Jimmie Lunceford — For Dancers Only (Decca/GRP, 1994)
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Swanee River
Jimmie Lunceford — For Dancers Only (Decca/GRP, 1994)
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Deep River
Paul Robeson — Ballad for Americans (Vanguard, 1991)
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Lazy River
Louis Armstrong — Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Sony, 2001)
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Ogeechee River Lullaby
Cab Calloway — Jazz in the Charts 1942-43 (Indie Europe, 2006)
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By the River St. Marie
Jimmie Lunceford — Complete Decca Sessions (Mosaic Records, 2011)
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Song of the Volga Boatmen
Glenn Miller — Best of the Army Air Force Band (RCA, 2001)
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Moonlight on the Ganges
Benny Goodman — Plays Eddie Sauter (Hep, 1997)
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Slow River (midpoint music bed)
Bix Beiderbecke/Jean Goldkette — Bix Restored V. 1 (Origin Jazz Library, 1995)
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Cry Me a River
Julie London — Very Best of Julie London (Capitol, 2006)
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River Stay Away From My Door
Frank Sinatra — Capitol Singles (Capitol, 1996)
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Walkin' By the River
Una Mae Carlisle — 1938-1941 (Chronological Classics, 2002)
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Ol' Man River
Paul Robeson — Showboat
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Moon River
Petra Haden/Bill Frisell — Petra Haden and Bill Frisell (Hannibal UK, 2008)
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River
Herbie Hancock/Joni Mitchell — Then and Now (Verve, 2008)
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River Man
Nick Drake — Way to Blue (Island, 1994)
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Find the River
R.E.M. — Automatic For the People (Warner, 1992)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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