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American Dream

55 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 12 May 2013

In this final bumper edition of Southern Tracks, Joe meets a cast of real-life characters who reflect on their achievements and failures, race and religion, their continuing hopes and the reality of the American Dream. A lot of his interviewees attribute their happiness to family and community. His interviews reveal that most Southern family bands began singing with the church and it's the close family bond and the 'family blend' sound which is the secret of their success. He also discovers that a lot of his performers used their records to illustrate their capacity to put the past behind them and to start over.

This series paints a portrait of the American South, where a few decades ago anyone could make their mark on posterity by paying a few hundred dollars to produce a vinyl record.

DJ and record collector Joe Fletcher has amassed thousands of these - largely religious - records. He takes a trip along the back roads of the Deep South tracking down the people who recorded up to 50 years ago to see how their lives developed.

Southern Tracks is an intriguing look at the alternative side of the United States, a road trip through an often overlooked part of the world's most powerful country.


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