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Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World Hardcover – December 30, 2010
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Begining with the birth of John Lomax, Alan's father (also a folklorist), we begin to see the many forces both personal and externally, that shaped Alan Lomax. John Lomax began collecting songs while he also began to have a family. Alan, while in college, began associating with people with radical ideas (especially for the times), and who had a penchant for blues and gospel music. When Lomax went on his first "collecting" trip with his father, his course in life was pretty much set.
Interspersed throughout the book are portions of letters which deepen the look into Lomax and the era (s). There are, occasionally, lyrics from songs Lomax recorded, which help clarify the music and Lomax's point of view. He recorded many musicians, a large number of them relatively unknown. The more well known musicians included Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly (or Leadbelly), Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, and many others. Taken together, this book is both an in depth look at Lomax, but it's also a window into America's (and other areas) past-a time far different from today's world.Read more ›
The writing although dense and filled with long quotations from Lomax, always has an element of surprise. Perhaps because the events were taking place in the early part of the Twentieth Century, there was more openness and innocence. Lomax traveled with his wife and daughter, he spent nights in shacks with African-Americans, and he was constantly in need of money. He was friends with Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pete Seeger, not to mention Carl Sandburg and Margaret Mead.
When Roosevelt became President, Lomax was recognized for his amazing depth and breadth of folk music contacts, and frequently performed for the White House. He earned a Carnegie Grant. He spent time abroad searching for folk music in England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, and Italy. His notes and recordings gradually became touchstones not only for the musicians of his era, but of many musicians of the future.
It was a pleasure to read a book and do it at a leisurely pace. As I read it, I began seeing how folk music has affected jazz, classical music, and pop music. For a musician or a non-musician, it is a wonderful journey.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a super readable book about a subject that is so much more interesting then one might think. In a way it is the history of all the music we care about.Published 6 months ago by Yale Evelev
Anyone interested in folk music or folksong collecting will enjoy this book by the man, who with his father made folk music popular.Published 19 months ago by Arkansas Red
Odd that there would be NO reviews on this book since I find it to be one of the best biographies I've ever read and also one of the greatest sources on (both American and World)... Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by J. J Spina
Alan Lomax has long been a favorite of mine. I am continually amazed at the depth and breadth of his life's work. Read morePublished on April 25, 2014 by Mr. Baker
Quick shipment. Satisfied with purchase and have read it twice already. Would purchase this item again. Great writing and concepts, believable, inspirational. BUY NOW.Published on September 13, 2013 by GravelGertie
This excellent autobiography on the man who changed how America understands folk music is superb. Alan Lomax originally with his father John Lomax established the gold standard for... Read morePublished on April 30, 2013 by Peter Ashlock
Finally a book on Alan Lomax! This rather exhaustive look at his life reveals an important figure in musical history. Read morePublished on May 14, 2012 by Elaine C. Erb
Szwed has done a remarkable job of chronicling the life and work of an American genius who had a radical vision of culture and what it could achieve. Read morePublished on January 21, 2012 by George De Stefano