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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
One of the most important books publishd in the last 20 years and the accompanying CD is unique in its content of some little heard and some superb L.o C. recordings. I never thought I'd see a pic. including the awesome Bozie Surdivant.

'Mississippi' Max Haymes
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
this book is brilliantly written with tact and thorough research. the author is expert personally and academically on the playing of instruments and on performing. i first visited the library of congress folk archives 50 years ago and have been familiar since then with the recordings discussed. but i never knew much then, even though these field recordings and some handfuls of similar ones have been the basis of my life-long interest in folk music. i especially admire the author's historical backgrounds and facility in presenting social and cultural issues in an engaged but tolerant manner. the book is a gem of information about music and american life and displays superb decorum. the author is wry, intelligent, and respectful. the only book to offer me anywhere near the insight into american folk culture has been alan lomax' the land where the blues began. whereas that book was so colorful that i wondered if lomax might not be embellishing his experience, reading this book i felt no reason to doubt anything the author wrote. he has done a wonderful service in demythologizing folk musicians and giving us entree to their experience -- their hopes, dreams, disappointments, and daily life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a very unique book. First, it comes with a CD, with all the songs on that CD that are covered in the book. This book is a very detailed read. The research and time that went into this book is nothing short of mind boggling. The author (Stephen Wade) obviously went to great lengths and depths to uncover the information of the history and development of each of these chosen songs. These songs were recorded back in the 1930's and 1940's, in peoples houses, garages, kitchens, outside, in a school gymnasium, and in churches. They are most likely artists the average american has never heard, and I would even say, a lot of people who are familiar with folk music probably don't know who these performers are. But many of these songs have grown over time and traveled over geography, changed by both time and geography, and would be recognizable by many. The author takes each song, and unearths and uproots it, exposing all of its roots, and then with a academic eye, describes each root, one by one, and how each root has an influence over another, and how they both nourish and develop into the song we know now. Its not only with an academic eye the author shows you the song, but there is a palpable passion for this music that comes thru loud and clear in each paragraph. You can tell that the author really loves this music. More than that, you can tell that the author cares very much for these performers. Some of these people are elderly now, and some have passed on. In the latter case, the author makes connections with living relatives and friends. The music is important here for sure, but the author allows you into a precious world that only he experienced: getting to know the people behind these songs. And this music is about these people, these performers. I so wish there was a Volume 2.

Stephen Wade does a multimedia presentation of the book and certain venues. I saw him at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Captivating. If he does come to a venue near you, it is certainly worth your time to go. You will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book, complete with CD, is a treasure of information, history and obscure facts. The author viisted Mississippi in the '90s and interviewed folks who are related to or who knew the performers. The performers were, for the most part, "ordinary" people who sing traditional music from the heart and were recorded by people like John and Alan Lomax in the '30s and '40s. Some of those cuts are on the enclosed CD.

If you love traditional music and/or the history of the rural south this book is for you. I thought that I knew a lot about both the music and the history of the '30s and '40s in the rural U. S. but this book has taught me plenty. And, it's entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is such a treasure. Preserving our heritage and culture is very important. We are still a young nation, but we are a vital and creative one. Stephen's book shines a light on the cradles of American creativity. The accompanying CD takes the listener right back home into the holler where folks make music to lift the spirits and move the work along. Great work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book and a stunning research effort, yet it reads well and is fascinating in its detail.
I came across Stephen Wade on Youtube, and was very impressed with his banjo playing and his obvious passion for music.
On a whim, I ordered the book, but was not prepared for how extraordinary it really is and how much work went into researching,
traveling, interviewing, etc., etc., to create a book like this one.
In addition, the book itself is beautiful: the quality of the pages, the binding, the quality of the type, etc.
The book itself comes wrapped in plastic and quite honestly, a book like this deserves it.
Can you tell I am impressed?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wade, an accomplished musician himself, traces the histories of some American folksongs by tracking down the folks behind them and giving us their stories and how they came to have their songs recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Wade's love for the music and the tradition shines through each page.
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on May 29, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Worth it for the CD alone. This book is a nice compliment to the Lomax recordings and goes back into the performances, the artists and rememberances and provides the background information Lomax could not. It also dwells on what I consider to be trivialities that only someone hopelessly in love with each track would care to know. The book itself it a finely made piece of work and probably the best built book I own. It will be here in the future. Nice background information to compliment the recordings. The CD itself is marvelous. I can't stop listening to Bonaparte's Retreat and Shortnin Bread. Recommended to the true student and admirer of true American Folk Music. A nice compliment to the Biography of Lomax or other books on his recording career. Writing style is a bit labored.
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on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Meticulously researched by the intrepid Stephen Wade. Traces a variety of paths from the rural South to the digital music age. Wade is a worthy successor to the fabled Alan Lomax
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on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this to all my family and friends!!!! If you like music you will enjoy the sories and recordings of some of the best music ever!!!
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