Reading ➾ Alan Lomax Author John Szwed –

Alan Lomax The title makes the same outsize claims as its subject did, but Alan Lomax s contribution to the preservation of certain musical traditions is invaluable His obsessive recording trips, often, as John Szwed points out, with primitive equipment, gave us a record of popular music as it existed across America, Europe and the Caribbean just before technology and mass marketed song vanquished it To him we owe recordings of African American fife and drums, laments and lullabies from the far corners of Spain and Italy, Caribbean rituals, and he encouraged and influenced folklorists elsewhere The theoretical framework he tried to erect around this massive trove of recordings is less distinguished he spent years trying to obtain academic bona fides for a sketchy universal theory of music, and he tended to idealize what he called folk traditions as timeless and pure not far from being static m The Remarkable Life And Times Of The Man Who Popularized American Folk Music And Created The Science Of Song Folklorist, Archivist, Anthropologist, Singer, Political Activist, Talent Scout, Ethnomusicologist, Filmmaker, Concert And Record Producer, Alan Lomax Is Best Remembered As The Man Who Introduced Folk Music To The Masses Lomax Began His Career Making Field Recordings Of Rural Music For The Library Of Congress And By The Late 1930s Brought His Discoveries To Radio, Including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, And Burl Ives By The 1940s He Was Producing Concerts That Brought White And Black Performers Together, And In The 1950s He Set Out To Record The Whole World Lomax Was Also A Controversial Figure When He Worked For The U S Government He Was Tracked By The FBI, And When He Worked In Britain, MI5 Continued The Surveillance In His Last Years He Turned To Digital Media And Developed Technology That Anticipated Today S Breakthroughs Featuring A Cast Of Characters Including Eleanor Roosevelt, Leadbelly, Carl Sandburg, Carl Sagan, Jelly Roll Morton, Muddy Waters, And Bob Dylan, Szwed S Fascinating Biography Memorably Captures Lomax And Provides A Definitive Account Of An Era As Seen Through The Life Of One Extraordinary Man. This is not so much a biography of the man as one of his career But it was an incredible and fascinating career which makes this book worth reading for one interested in what he did So one is left with a feeling for the deeds of Lomax, but despite the many pieces of his writing the reader does not get so much of who he was Interestingly there is only one photo of Lomax in the book, so you also don t get that view of him.I knew very little about Lomax going in to this book, and I didn t live through the time period covered With that as a context, I did get a myth making feel out of the story arc It isn t that anything comes across as untrue there is far too much detail for that but it is clearly written by a great admirer of Lomax s I don t think this is a negative after al A comprehensive, probably definitive, study of the life and work of Alan Lomax, one of the greatest, most important Americans who has ever lived The audiobook goes into significant detail of the development of Lomax s views and work on folklore, musicology, and humanity in general, beginning even before he was born, with his family influences and the work of his father, John Lomax, a great musicologist and folklorist in his own right The author ably describes the ordeals Lomax endured in his quest to preserve and recognize the music and lifestyles of the folk of the world ordeals that included racism anti communist hysteria white people who cared about the lives of black people were naturally assumed to be communists in the J Edgar Hoover one of the worst Americans who ever lived days elitism academic and social and a failure to understand the substance and significance of his work.After finishing this book, it is impossible not to conclude that Alan Lomax was truly This is an interesting book a book that attempts to tell the story of a man whose life was dedicated to the art of collecting stories and songs Interesting in theory for me, though, since in practice this is an exhausting read that is a hell of a slog to plow through The book is nothing but an endless name dropping of people that I have never heard of save Leadbelly and Jelly Roll Morton, the only two names in this book so far that I ve seen before Maybe that s a slight on my intelligence, maybe it s a poor reflection on my behalf Maybe it isn t and this is just a boring book I don t know, and I m not very willing to delve into this any to figure it out I ve stopped reading in the middle of the sixth chapter after a week I m sure the book involves many, many of the interesting people of history, but I would rather be reading their books than a listing of events from the life of Alan Lomax, man who travels to f Painted in this biography probably truthfully as a champion of the disadvantaged genius, Lomax is was a refreshing antithesis to the money seeking prodigy discoverers of today, such as American Idol Instead of trying to find artists to fit the mainstream, he tried to find and salvage what the mainstream was working intentionally and unintentionally to either destroy or usurp for its own purposes.Szwed s tel This book was utterly absorbing Alan Lomax had his faults but his utter tenacity and unfailing dedication to capturing and understanding the world s cultures through music later, dance and speech is breathtaking.It s also extremely relevant for where we are now in such a fractured and polarized America As Szwed puts it, he felt that the solution to the country s internal crisis lay in some form of multicultural awareness, a process of making all peoples aware of their histories, and creating pride in what America had achieved with its cultural mix By recognizing and elevating original folk music by Black America especially Lomax embodied the view that Folklorists should be interpreters to the world outside the folk community, but they should also champion these peoples who are subjects to the control of the modern world As much as I loved reading this book, I did get frustrated at times with the density of certain sections and the relative thinness of others.Lomax s treatment of women is deplorable and Szwed s breezy comments on Lomax s infidelities and his abandonment of women in his life seems to gloss over them, ultimately doing them a disservice It pushes them into the background where 3 1 2 star book Well written and well researched, but it really felt like the last 3 4s or so were skimpy on a lot of Lomax s work life details as if Szwed was in a hurry to get done or something Worth reading. As a musician and music lover with a strongly developed sense of history, I have great respect for the late Alan Lomax and his work as a musicologist This one man studied, recorded and preserved an improbably large share of the extant corpus of American folk music The influence of his recordings and writings on the development of popular music in the late twentieth century is matched by no one else, not even Bob Dylan Indeed, without Lomax, Dylan might not even have existed More broadly still, black American music might never have found a mass white audience if not for his efforts, which means the great creative explosion that resulted from this cultural conjunction couldn t have happened without him either The world owes Alan Lomax an incommensurable artistic debt.I was excited when I picked up this book The little I knew about Lomax about his shoestring travels across America with a recording machine in the trunk of his car, his risky encounters with redneck cops, prison wardens and the susp It has interesting moments but the book could have been half as long.

About the Author: John Szwed

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Alan Lomax book, this is one of the most wanted John Szwed author readers around the world.

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