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The Alan Lomax Collection: Southern Journey, Vol. 13 - Earliest Times

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Album Review

Subtitled "Georgia Sea Islands Songs for Everyday Living," this is a collection of 21 performances recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959 and 1960. Often structured in a call and response fashion, and arranged a cappella or only with minimal percussion and instrumentation, these are considered as some of the American recordings which are closest to the African roots of African-American music. About a dozen performers are heard on the record, arranged into three different combinations of groups, with different soloists spotlighted all the time. Academic significance aside, it's reasonably strong and stirring music with a spiritual current, even though many of the songs are not religious in content; one, in fact, "Ain't I Right" is an original (by Henry Morrison) about the stinginess of white plantation owners.


Born: January 15, 1915 in Austin, TX

Genre: World

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Few figures deserve greater credit for the preservation of America's folk music traditions than Alan Lomax. Scouring the backroads, honky tonks, and work camps of the Deep South, he unearthed a treasure trove of songs and singers, documenting the music of the common man for future generations to discover; through Lomax's pioneering efforts, cultural traditions ranging from the Delta blues to Appalachian folk to field hollers continue to live on, with his invaluable recordings offering a compelling...
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