Catching up on forty years. 2000: Down to the river to pray – Alison Krauss
Our love of particular music is a combination of the song and the occasion. Which explains why the stand-out music from this year is a mix of blues and gospel from the frankly weird but brilliant Coen brothers film of 2000 O Brother, Where Are Thou?. I’d never been one for bluegrass tomes. maybe the occasional dose of gospel, but suddenly the whole atmosphere of the film had me immersed. In the same way as The Blues Brothers in the early ’80s fuelled a journey in to soul and blues, so I realised there was some great stuff to be found in the big rock candy mountains.
Of all the strangest times to watch this film, we caught it at the cinema Christmas Eve. The film is, yet another, adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey but set in the deep south of 30’s Mississippi. As our group of anti-heroes go on their journey they encounter all the classic trials and tribulations accompanied by incredible music of the time. Sirens, a blind prophet and a climactic showdown with the KKK while at the same time recording and performing a foot-stomping country record. In fact to be honest, I can’t remember too much of the plot, although I think they all get very wet at the end! But, it’s of no matter – the soundtrack lives on of it’s own accord and frankly wiped the floor with any other music of the millennium year.
Down to the river to pray is a particular favourite – it is a pure pure sound and regardless of what you believe you cannot fail to be moved by the beauty of the music and it’s meaning. I went on to enjoy more Alison Strauss albums. This is the song as it is on the album complete with vintage baptism scenes.
Obviously 2000 was the momentous occasion when as a world we marked the move in to a new millenium / century and we blew up a lot of fireworks to celebrate. Sadly, the top selling song of this key time in our lives was Who Let The Dogs Out? Says it all, really…
And for the scene from the film (with Spanish subtitles?) –