November 07, 2010
Sounds of the South - Various [A Musical Journey from the Georgia Sea Islands to the Mississippi Delta, Recorded in the Field by Alan Lomax]
1959 and Atlantic sends ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax into the American South with a stereo tape recorder to conduct field recordings of traditional music. This box set documents that journey. Originally released in the early 60s as a six-LP collection, these digitised tracks have been remastered and geneally spruced up and encompass an array of trad. US sounds: bluegrass pickers, country blues guitarists, gospel choirs, folk singers, chain gangs, and more. Represented artists range from the familiar - Mississippi Fred McDowell - to the obscure - Miles & Bob Pratcher - but all add up to a captivating portrait of US history through and in music.
Compared with Harry Smith's Anthology of American Music the weirdness is dialled down. Lomax's approach is more academic. The 30 year or so gap between the two sets of recordings is telling. Where Lomax's recordings have an edge is in bringing the performance and the song more cleanly to the fore, allowing an emotional connect that the fizz and crackle recordings of the Anthology cannot render.
Needless to say, highly recommended.
Oddi wrth y brawd
1 Blue Ridge Mountain music
2 Roots of the blues / The blues roll on
3 Negro church music / White spirituals
4 American folk songs for children