Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Walter Parks’ version of the spiritual song “Wade in the Water,” from their forthcoming album Unlawful Assembly, due out on Sept 10th on Atomic Records. Walter Parks was the sideman for Richie Havens for a decade. Unlawful Assembly was produced by Stephen Williams (Sade, David Byrne, De La Soul), recorded at Atomic Sound in NYC, and mixed recorded and engineered by Merle Chornuk.
“Wade in the Water (Spiritual)” is Walter Parks on guitars and vocals; Steven Williams on drums; Ada Dyer on vocals; Michael Bellar (Amos Lee, Art Garfunkel) on organ and electric piano; Paul Frazier (Nile Rogers, Chaka Khan, St. Vincent) on bass and upright bass. Andrae Murchison (The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Count Basie Orchestra) is on trombone elsewhere on the album.
The video was recorded and filmed at Atomic Sound in Brooklyn, New York. The dramatic noir footage of this video strongly emphasizes the sincere profundity of both the song and Walter Parks and band’s delivery. The whole project is an austere and respectable undertaking well worth the listen.
It is believed that the underground railroad activist Harriet Tubman advised escape slaves to follow rivers because slave tracking dogs could not stay on the scent of runaways who traveled the river beds. In Northeast Florida, where I was raised, the act of runaways wading in and ultimately crossing water to achieve a better life inspired my choice to include “Wade In The Water” in this collection. Runaways from the southeast Georgia rice plantations could attain freedom by heading south and crossing The St. Mary’s River into Florida when the territory was part of Spain. Once in Florida yet still pursued by bounty hunters, slaves waded alligator infested marshes and swamps to find their way to Fort Mose near St Augustine where, in exchange for safe shelter they converted to Catholicism and served in the Spanish army. While The Unlawful Assembly is of course tributing Wade In The Water’s historical significance we’re also hoping to exemplify the song’s contemporary relevance given that thousands of Central Americans head north and try to cross The Rio Grande in hopes of bettering their circumstances. – Walter Parks
Find the music and more info, here: https://www.walterparks.com/