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The Alan Lomax Collection - Deep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage

Alan Lomax & Various Artists

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Album Review

Sixteen country-blues cuts, recorded between 1936 and 1942 by folklorists Alan and John A. Lomax for the Library of Congress at plantations, penitentiaries, tourist camps, and elsewhere (actually the two songs by William Brown were done near Mississippi, in Arkansas). Deep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage is a more pleasurable compilation than most folk field recordings of the era are (whether by the Lomaxes or others), due to the tight and focused performances. A couple of the names will be familiar to any blues fan (and to some non-blues fans). Muddy Waters, then playing acoustic Delta blues as McKinley Morganfield, contributes "I Be Bound to Write to You" and "You Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone"; Son House, about to disappear from the public eye for a couple of decades, does four songs, including his famous "Walking Blues" (which is six minutes here, with accompaniment from other musicians on mandolin, guitar, and harmonica). Most of the tracks are entertaining and academically important, as well as illustrative of some differences in Mississippi blues styles. Some of these are blues that are more upbeat than the Delta stereotype, as in David "Honeyboy" Edwards' "Wind Howlin' Blues" and Lucious Curtis (who never recorded before or after his 1940 recordings on this disc), whose sharp guitar picking has some ragtime and boogie flavor.

Biography

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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