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The Alan Lomax Collection: Southern Journey, Vol. 12 - Georgia Sea Islands, Biblical Songs and Spirituals

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Album Review

Because of their isolation, the folk and gospel music of the African-American communities of the Georgia Sea Islands showed stronger ties to African forms, and sometimes had a lilt more associated with the Bahamas and Caribbean. Alan Lomax recorded the 18 biblical songs and spirituals on this recording in 1959 and 1960, and although much has sometimes been made of the distinct quality of Sea Islands music, much of this just sounds like good-quality old-time African-American gospel. When the backing is highly rhythmic and a fife is prominent, it does sound more idiosyncratic. Five of the tracks were previously unreleased, and one, the lengthy "It Just Suits Me," is a real highlight, with guitar accompaniment by Virginia musician Hobart Smith and lengthy back-and-forth passages between lead vocalists and a chorus.

Biography

Born: 15 January 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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