If you’ve heard any of my music, you’ve heard my love of folk music. My mother and father were not music lovers, but their tiny record collection included a country album (Marty Robbins’ Gunsfighter Ballads) an RnB masterpiece (Ray Charles’ What’d I Say) and a folk record (Peter, Paul and Mary Live) that included “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan. That record was also my introduction to songs by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Years later I would find out about the work of Alan Lomax in keeping this music alive long enough to find my ears. A few months ago I was asked to write up a new Lomax biography for the American Songwriter Magazine website…
Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded The World
By Jon Swzed
New biography puts the life and work of Alan Lomax in the spotlight.
In his quest for distinctive American folk music, Alan Lomax brought the songs of Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters and Leadbelly to a larger audience, and it’s no exaggeration to suggest that without Lomax’ contribution there would’ve been no 1960’s folk music revival, no Bob Dylan and a radically different pop music landscape in the world today. With Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World, author John Szwed illuminates the life and work of the titular folklorist, musicologist, author, archivist and promoter.
As in his excellent Sun Ra bio, Szwed fully immerses readers in Lomax’ world as he travels from his Texas birthplace, through the rural South during The Great Depression and up to New York’s bohemian scene in the 1960’s.
Joe Nolan <3