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Old Dollar Mamie

Today we take a look at ‘Old Dollar Mamie’, with two reinterpreted versions of that prison song piece from Portugal and Holland.

Fernando Ramalho, Portugal

“There’s a sense of ambiguity in these chain gang songs.

“On the one hand, the brutal oppression; on the other hand the joy of singing together.

“I tried to capture that duality with two droning guitars that, at some point, melt with the original recording.

“The title –‘You better stay off ol’ Parchman Farm’ – is a line by Bukka White, from his song ‘Parchman Farm’, the Mississippi State Penitentiary where White was a prisoner and Alan Lomax recorded several prison songs.”

Leon von Bokhorst, Netherlands

“I’m inspired by the way prisoners move time slowly forward by singing.

“Every time metal hits the rock a single second of their jail time has past.

“One step closer to freedom. The piece is about the struggle with time without freedom…”