Alan Lomax

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  • wkhanna
    Grumpy Old Super Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2006
    • 5673

    Alan Lomax

    From today's edition of "the Writer's Almanac"


    It’s the birthday of musicologist Alan Lomax, born in Austin, Texas (1915). His father, John Lomax, was also a musicologist and wrote books like Cowboy Songs and Frontier Ballads (1910) and Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp (1918 ). Alan went to the University of Texas and then to Harvard to study philosophy, but after his mother’s death he dropped out of Harvard to accompany his dad on one of his folk song-collecting missions. He loved it so much that he decided to make it his life’s work.

    The Lomaxes went to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where they met Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Lomax wrote: “I’ll never forget: He approached us all the way from the building where he worked, with his big 12-string guitar in his hand. He sat down in front of us and proceeded to sing everything that we could think of in this beautiful, clear, trumpet-like voice that he had, with his hand simply flying on the strings. His hands were like a whirlwind, and his voice was like a great clear trumpet. You could hear him, literally, half a mile away when he opened up.”

    Alan and John Lomax headed up the Library of Congress “Archive of American Folk Song,” recording and preserving thousands of songs. Alan was particularly interested in doing more extensive interviews with their subjects, and he recorded the oral histories of musicians like Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Jelly Roll Morton, Muddy Waters, and Vera Hall. For the rest of his life, Lomax continued to record folk artists, champion folk music, and publish books, which include American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), Mister Jelly Roll (1950), Folk Song Style and Culture (1968 ), and The Land Where the Blues Began (1993).
    _


    Bill

    Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
    ....just an "ON" switch, Please!

    FinleyAudio
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