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The Land Where the Blues Began

Lomax, Alan

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A self-described “song-hunter,” the folklorist Alan Lomax traveled the Mississippi Delta in the 1930’s and ‘40s, armed with primitive recording equipment and a keen love of the Delta’s music heritage. Crisscrossing the towns and hamlets where the blues began, Lomax gave voice to such greats as Leadbelly, Fred MacDowell, Muddy Waters, and many others, all of whom made their debut recordings with him.

The Land Where the Blues Began is Lomax’s “stingingly well-written cornbread-and-moonshine odyssey” (Kirkus Reviews) through America’s musical heartland. Through candid conversations with bluesmen and vivid, firsthand accounts of the landscape where their music was born, Lomax’s “discerning reconstructions . . . give life to a domain most of us can never know . . . one that summons us with an oddly familiar sensation of reverence and dread” ( The New York Times Book Review). The Land Where the Blues Began captures the irrepressible energy of soul of people who changed American musical history.

Winner of the 1993 National Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, The Land Where the Blues Began is now available in a handsome new paperback edition.

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Review:

Co-founder--with folklorist father John A. Lomax--of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, Alan Lomax traveled the South "from the Brazos bottoms of Texas to the tidewater country of Virginia" in search of the wellspring of American blues. Previously the author of Mister Jelly Roll, Lomax stalks the ghosts of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy and Charlie Patton, among many other blues pioneers. This winner of the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction is more than just another profile of a musical genre. It's an intimate diary of a purely American art form born of a powerful mix of despair and hope.

From the Publisher:

Set in an era as harsh and fertile as Delta silt, The Land Where The Blues Began reveals how the river of African American culture overtook its repressive banks--to give us R & B, soul, rock 'n' roll, and the only purely American art form, the blues. Alan Lomax takes us on an adventure into the "bad old days" of the post-slavery, Kim Crow Mississippi Delta--the birthplace of the blues--when railroads and levees were being built and cotton boomed at the expense of Southern working-class African Americans. Singing of their misery and their barely concealed rage, the Bluesman enlisted their African heritage to keep their souls alive and in the process created the first satirical song form in the English language. We meet Muddy Waters (the father of modern blues), learn how Robert Johnson met his end, and are introduced to Fred McDowell and Son House, who taught Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton how to play the blues.

"If not for Lomax, few people would have heard 'Tom Dooley' or 'Goodnight Irene, and Bob Zimmerman might be singing 'Feelings' at Holiday Inns around Hibbing, Minnesota."--Newsweek

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. 183mm x 33mm x 215mm. Paperback. Folklorist Lomax offers a rollicking memoir of his journey back into blues country. A "singingly well-written cornbread-and-moonshine odyssey" ("Kirkus Reviews"). of p.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 560 pages. 0.853. Bookseller Inventory # 9781565847392

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Book Description The New Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. 234 x 152 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. A self-described song-hunter, the folklorist Alan Lomax traveled the Mississippi Delta in the 1930 s and 40s, armed with primitive recording equipment and a keen love of the Delta s music heritage. Crisscrossing the towns and hamlets where the blues began, Lomax gave voice to such greats as Leadbelly, Fred MacDowell, Muddy Waters, and many others, all of whom made their debut recordings with him. The Land Where the Blues Began is Lomax s stingingly well-written cornbread-and-moonshine odyssey (Kirkus Reviews) through America s musical heartland. Through candid conversations with bluesmen and vivid, firsthand accounts of the landscape where their music was born, Lomax s discerning reconstructions . . . give life to a domain most of us can never know . . . one that summons us with an oddly familiar sensation of reverence and dread ( The New York Times Book Review ). The Land Where the Blues Began captures the irrepressible energy of soul of people who changed American musical history. Winner of the 1993 National Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, The Land Where the Blues Began is now available in a handsome new paperback edition. Bookseller Inventory # AAT9781565847392

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