By Tony Scherman
Updated January 08, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

This two-CD soundtrack for the PBS series The Mississippi: River of Song was never fully thought out. The goal was to prove that America remains rich in regionally rooted sounds. Following the Mississippi from north to south, the producers succeed admirably, giving us a crazy quilt of music: Chippewa tribesmen, big-time rockers (Minneapolis’ Soul Asylum, Levon Helm), Delta bluesmen, New Orleans street musicians, and more. But the Mississippi is an arbitrary prop; they could just as easily have driven haphazardly around the U.S. C+

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