CD tells the Delta story
Joe Chipman of Manila recently released his second CD entitled "Arkansas in Me" (Keeping It Delta). It is made up of 12 original songs and narrations reliving history and life in the Delta as it has been passed down from generation to generation.
Chipman has a gift for creating songs through the stories he has heard and his memories of growing up on cotton farms in Mississippi County.
His first CD, "Taming Mississippi County," was produced a few years ago with the help of friend and musician Jeff Knowlton.
"The history of the Delta has so many stories to tell it was hard to narrow down the songs for both the first CD and "Arkansas in Me," Chipman said. "I appreciate everyone who helped with the sharing of their stories and the talented musicians who sang and played instruments."
Well known musician Craig Morris of Paragould engineered and helped produce the CD. Morris also sings on two of the featured songs including the title song, "Arkansas in Me," and "The Old Man."
Along with Morris and Chipman, others singers include The Bryant family (Charlsy, Brandon and Lori), Kenny Seratt, Billy Joe Warren, Bo Jackson, Sandy Rhodes, Pam Chipman, Donna Rhodes and Brenda "Bear" Barnett. Narrations were done by Chipman, Dale Blaylock and Morris Simpson. Musicians include Morris, Barnett, Sandy Rhodes, Tim Crouch and Jeff Knowlton.
The picture on the front cover was taken at the C.A. Smith Grocery Store in Dell built in 1919. The store was recently relocated and restored and is now located on the Widner-Magers Farm Historic District located three miles north of Dell on Highway 181.
Chipman dedicated his second CD to the life and the memory of Dale Poag, a longtime educator and FFA advisor in the Manila School District. Like Chipman, Poag grew up on a family farm and spent almost 40 years encouraging and teaching young people.
Chipman graduated from Manila High School in 1973 and recalls being anxious to leave rural Arkansas and travel abroad. At the age of 17, he joined the Navy and set off to see the world.
As the years went by the memories of his childhood and rural Arkansas began drawing him back to his roots. At the age of 50 he began writing songs and telling stories about life as he knew it in Mississippi County. Most of his songs are about times and events before he was born but based on recorded history and stories he has heard.
Chipman writes about the hard times, the good times, and what it took to survive as the land was being cleared for farming. His song lyrics speak of hard work, family and faith; and how world war, economic depression and persistent flooding added hardship and challenge to an already difficult way of life.
From the narration and song "Grandpa's Farm," Chipman shares his thoughts and the memories as the farm he grew up on was auctioned. "The Greatest Generation" was written for a good friend, Bob Rothfus, a World War II veteran. Each song on the CD has its own particular story and a special meaning to Chipman.
Songs from the CD are currently being featured on the KASU FM Radio Station, FM 91.9. The program is "Arkansas Roots" and is aired from noon until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The CDs can be purchased at Delta Drug in Manila for $12; or by mail by sending $15 to CD, P.O. Box 1395, Manila, AR 72442. Both CDs may be purchased and paid for on line at: ouroldcountrystore.blogspot.com.
CDs are also available at That Bookstore in Blytheville.