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The Alan Lomax Collection: Caribbean Voyage - Grenada Creole and Yoruba Voices

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Album Review

Perhaps the greatest gift of Alan Lomax was that he knew what to record in the field and how to coax marvelous performances from ordinary people. On his 1962 trip through the Caribbean he gleaned some excellent material, never more so than on the island of Grenada. This collection of Creole and Yoruba voices is a gem, most especially the Creole songs, some material never really heard before, with Irene McQueen, in particular, a rich source of songs, like "Roll, Roll, Roll and Go" and the moving "There's No One to Lay Mercy on Me." But she's only one of many sources, all of whom prove to be in fine voice, like John Phillip with "You Don't Know Tomorrow." The fact that these songs are in English make them more accessible to an American audience, of course, but the songs themselves, often dating from slave times, are worthwhile on their own merits. The same is true of the Yoruba music, sung by many of the same people; it is almost the obverse side of the coin — the material those slaves kept for themselves, in their own language (although one song, "Bring Me Water for Lilly," is in English). This is the secret side that's been passed down and laid uncovered for so long, and Lomax gently brings it to light. More than many of his collections, there's a true magic about this one; there's a sense of joy from the singers that's almost palpable which makes it a pleasure to hear often, even for those with no academic interest in the music of the region.


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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The Alan Lomax Collection: Caribbean Voyage - Grenada Creole and Yoruba Voices, Alan Lomax
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