[read online kindle] Alan Lomax Author John Szwed – Selindameditasyon.com

Alan Lomax The title makes the same outsize claims as its subject did, but Alan Lomax s contribution to the preservation of certain musical traditions is invaluable His obsessive recording trips, often, as John Szwed points out, with primitive equipment, gave us a record of popular music as it existed across America, Europe and the Caribbean just before technology and mass marketed song vanquished it To him we owe recordings of African American fife and drums, laments and lullabies from the far corners o The title makes the same outsize claims as its subject did, but Alan Lomax s contribution to the preservation of certain musical traditions is invaluable His obsessive recording trips, often, as John Szwed points out, with primitive equipment, gave us a record of popular music as it existed across America, Europe and the Caribbean just before technology and mass marketed song vanquished it To him we owe recordings of African American fife and drums, laments and lullabies from the far corners of Spain and Italy, Caribbean rituals, and he encouraged and influenced folklorists elsewhere The theoretical framework he tried to erect around this massive trove of recordings is less distinguished he spent years trying to obtain academic bona fides for a sketchy universal theory of music, and he tended to idealize what he called folk traditions as timeless and pure not far from being static museum pieces And his ambition knew no bounds he created folk operas and sent suggested plots to the Italian director Roberto Rossellini But beyond all the fruitless theorizing, the braggadocio, the extravagant, unfinished projects, and the poor treatment of spouses and child, he saved all that music from oblivion, and that achievement speaks for itself This is an interesting book a book that attempts to tell the story of a man whose life was dedicated to the art of collecting stories and songs Interesting in theory for me, though, since in practice this is an exhausting read that is a hell of a slog to plow through The book is nothing but an endless name dropping of people that I have never heard of save Leadbelly and Jelly Roll Morton, the only two names in this book so far that I ve seen before Maybe that s a slight on my intelligence This is an interesting book a book that attempts to tell the story of a man whose life was dedicated to the art of collecting stories and songs Interesting in theory for me, though, since in practice this is an exhausting read that is a hell of a slog to plow through The book is nothing but an endless name dropping of people that I have never heard of save Leadbelly and Jelly Roll Morton, the only two names in this book so far that I ve seen before Maybe that s a slight on my intelligence, maybe it s a poor reflection on my behalf Maybe it isn t and this is just a boring book I don t know, and I m not very willing to delve into this anyto figure it out I ve stopped reading in the middle of the sixth chapter after a week I m sure the book involves many, manyof the interesting people of history, but I would rather be reading their books than a listing of events from the life of Alan Lomax, man who travels to find peopleinteresting than him and then gets sick.Maybe I ll pick this book up again some other time but it s not doing anything for me now.One star This is not so much a biography of the man as one of his career But it was an incredible and fascinating career which makes this book worth reading for one interested in what he did So one is left with a feeling for the deeds of Lomax, but despite the many pieces of his writing the reader does not get so much of who he was Interestingly there is only one photo of Lomax in the book, so you also don t get that view of him.I knew very little about Lomax going in to this book, and I didn t live t This is not so much a biography of the man as one of his career But it was an incredible and fascinating career which makes this book worth reading for one interested in what he did So one is left with a feeling for the deeds of Lomax, but despite the many pieces of his writing the reader does not get so much of who he was Interestingly there is only one photo of Lomax in the book, so you also don t get that view of him.I knew very little about Lomax going in to this book, and I didn t live through the time period covered With that as a context, I did get a myth making feel out of the story arc It isn t that anything comes across as untrue there is far too much detail for that but it is clearly written by a great admirer of Lomax s I don t think this is a negative after all my interest was based on admiration as well.In the end, this book is like a biography of an explorer he was a modern day Magellan and the author does well to let Lomax s imagination drive the narrative A comprehensive, probably definitive, study of the life and work of Alan Lomax, one of the greatest, most important Americans who has ever lived The audiobook goes into significant detail of the development of Lomax s views and work on folklore, musicology, and humanity in general, beginning even before he was born, with his family influences and the work of his father, John Lomax, a great musicologist and folklorist in his own right The author ably describes the ordeals Lomax endured in his q A comprehensive, probably definitive, study of the life and work of Alan Lomax, one of the greatest, most important Americans who has ever lived The audiobook goes into significant detail of the development of Lomax s views and work on folklore, musicology, and humanity in general, beginning even before he was born, with his family influences and the work of his father, John Lomax, a great musicologist and folklorist in his own right The author ably describes the ordeals Lomax endured in his quest to preserve and recognize the music and lifestyles of the folk of the world ordeals that included racism anti communist hysteria white people who cared about the lives of black people were naturally assumed to be communists in the J Edgar Hoover one of the worst Americans who ever lived days elitism academic and social and a failure to understand the substance and significance of his work.After finishing this book, it is impossible not to conclude that Alan Lomax was truly a brilliant Renaissance Man, who devoted his life to the study and promotion of humanity, particularly those ignored and or scroned by the elite of the world.I strongly recommend listening to the audio version of the book, which includes interludes of performances from musicians recorded by Lomax This book was utterly absorbing Alan Lomax had his faults but his utter tenacity and unfailing dedication to capturing and understanding the world s cultures through music later, dance and speech is breathtaking.It s also extremely relevant for where we are now in such a fractured and polarized America As Szwed puts it, he felt that the solution to the country s internal crisis lay in some form of multicultural awareness, a process of making all peoples aware of their histories, and creatin This book was utterly absorbing Alan Lomax had his faults but his utter tenacity and unfailing dedication to capturing and understanding the world s cultures through music later, dance and speech is breathtaking.It s also extremely relevant for where we are now in such a fractured and polarized America As Szwed puts it, he felt that the solution to the country s internal crisis lay in some form of multicultural awareness, a process of making all peoples aware of their histories, and creating pride in what America had achieved with its cultural mix By recognizing and elevating original folk music by Black America especially Lomax embodied the view that Folklorists should be interpreters to the world outside the folk community, but they should also champion these peoples who are subjects to the control of the modern world As much as I loved reading this book, I did get frustrated at times with the density of certain sections and the relative thinness of others.Lomax s treatment of women is deplorable and Szwed s breezy comments on Lomax s infidelities and his abandonment of women in his life seems to gloss over them, ultimately doing them a disservice It pushes them into the background where whatever voice they had is lost Also, I ve read other reviews here that question how compressed the last couple of decades were It does read as if Szwed had a deadline, and as a result, it gets a bit blurry as to what was going on Perhaps, or it could be that Lomax was not discovering or recording or performing music as much as analyzing it, which may be less interesting to Szwed.This is unfortunate, because the last section of Lomax s life seems to be where the real beauty and synthesis of his ideas and work began to reveal themselves I was especially and personally struck by a comment made by Michael Naimark, an associate of Lomax s on the Global Jukebox project The Global Jukebox has fallen into an abyss beetween academic and pop culture, between world saving and money making, and between content and technology And in the new media industry, the technology folks seem to drive the content, rarely the other way around it s too bad, since most of the planet s cultures have the content but not the technology My last note is that Szwed made the decision to tell the story of Lomax and his work predominately through Lomax s writings and letters While I liked reading snippets from Lomax s letters and papers from over the years, I would have liked a bitsubstantive, first person commentary from those around him Charles Seeger, Carl Sandburg, and especially Elizabeth Lomax his first wife are voices that seem to have complex opinions about Lomax and the work they were doing together and apart that don t get examined too closely I find it hard to believe this doesn t exist, but as a professor of music and jazz studies, Szwed seemsinterested in the scope of the music which of course is vast so there it is.I m sure glad I read this book, though, and I m encouraged to read Lomax s actual writings and to listen to the music he collected Given the huge scope of his work, a recommendation for where to start by Szwed would have been helpful but I m sure I can Google it Painted in this biography probably truthfully as a champion of the disadvantaged genius, Lomax is was a refreshing antithesis to the money seeking prodigy discoverers of today, such as American Idol Instead of trying to find artists to fit the mainstream, he tried to find and salvage what the mainstream was working intentionally and unintentionally to either destroy or usurp for its own purposes.Szwed s telling of Lomax s story reads a bit like a laundry list I would have preferred a col Painted in this biography probably truthfully as a champion of the disadvantaged genius, Lomax is was a refreshing antithesis to the money seeking prodigy discoverers of today, such as American Idol Instead of trying to find artists to fit the mainstream, he tried to find and salvage what the mainstream was working intentionally and unintentionally to either destroy or usurp for its own purposes.Szwed s telling of Lomax s story reads a bit like a laundry list I would have preferred a collection of letters annotated with bits of necessary background knowledge 3 1 2 star book Well written and well researched, but it really felt like the last 3 4s or so were skimpy on a lot of Lomax s work life details as if Szwed was in a hurry to get done or something Worth reading. The remarkable life and times of the man who popularized American folk music and created the science of song Folklorist, archivist, anthropologist, singer, political activist, talent scout, ethnomusicologist, filmmaker, concert and record producer, Alan Lomax is best remembered as the man who introduced folk music to the masses Lomax began his career making field recordings of rural music for the Library of Congress and by the late s brought his discoveries to radio, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Burl Ives By the s he was producing concerts that brought white and black performers together, and in the s he set out to record the whole world Lomax was also a controversial figure When he worked for the U S government he was tracked by the FBI, and when he worked in Britain, MI continued the surveillance In his last years he turned to digital media and developed technology that anticipated today s breakthroughs Featuring a cast of characters including Eleanor Roosevelt, Leadbelly, Carl Sandburg, Carl Sagan, Jelly Roll Morton, Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan, Szwed s fascinating biography memorably captures Lomax and provides a definitive account of an era as seen through the life of one extraordinary man As a musician and music lover with a strongly developed sense of history, I have great respect for the late Alan Lomax and his work as a musicologist This one man studied, recorded and preserved an improbably large share of the extant corpus of American folk music The influence of his recordings and writings on the development of popular music in the late twentieth century is matched by no one else, not even Bob Dylan Indeed, without Lomax, Dylan might not even have existed More broadly stil As a musician and music lover with a strongly developed sense of history, I have great respect for the late Alan Lomax and his work as a musicologist This one man studied, recorded and preserved an improbably large share of the extant corpus of American folk music The influence of his recordings and writings on the development of popular music in the late twentieth century is matched by no one else, not even Bob Dylan Indeed, without Lomax, Dylan might not even have existed More broadly still, black American music might never have found a mass white audience if not for his efforts, which means the great creative explosion that resulted from this cultural conjunction couldn t have happened without him either The world owes Alan Lomax an incommensurable artistic debt.I was excited when I picked up this book The little I knew about Lomax about his shoestring travels across America with a recording machine in the trunk of his car, his risky encounters with redneck cops, prison wardens and the suspicious poor, his adoption of the blues singer Leadbelly, his troubles with Senator McCarthy and the FBI, his tireless championship of black causes, his purist rejection of artists like Dylan who put the material he had discovered and preserved to their own artistic uses made him sound like a thoroughly fascinating character, the sort of man about whom it would be impossible to write a dull book This, after all, was the man who ended up rolling in the dirt with Albert Grossman at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964 after Grossman caught him and Pete Seeger trying to take an axe to Dylan s band s power cable while they were on stage How could a book about a man like that be boring Oh, easy Just leave it to John Szwed An associate of Lomax during the great man s later years, his attitude towards his subject is one of obsessively hagiographic adoration In this plodding, barely readable book, the arc of Lomax s life story is lost to view under an avalanche of irrelevant minor details It is as if Szwed was determined to capture every move and gesture made by his subject, to describe and comment upon every essay, article, letter, postcard or shopping list that Lomax ever wrote, regardless of its relative importance or thematic value This suffocating mass of detail completely obscures what is really important in Lomax s story One of the most important traits of a biographer or historian is selectivity Szwed appears quite incapable of it.He is also incapable of admitting any serious faults in his hero, despite the evidence given to us here in as much detail as everything else that Lomax was manipulative, selfish and self serving, and tended to exploit and betray the women in his life The author finds excuses for it all Lomax was academically and politically quarrelsome but in this book it s always the other guy s fault Szwed does not even scruple to slap on a coat or two of whitewash if the occasion demands it having abandoned sequential reading about three fifths of the way through the book, I skipped forward to see what the author had to say about the Newport incident, and discovered that he barely mentions it, and then only to dismiss it as apocryphal This is simply untrue several eyewitnesses have gone down in print with their descriptions, and there is no doubt that it happened.This dreary book has only one redeeming quality, and that is the obsessive depth of its scholarship with respect to matters concerning its subject Perhaps one day a real historian or biographer will find it useful as a compilation of primary sources from which to produce a really good biography of Alan Lomax There s no doubt that one is needed This isn t it It has interesting moments but the book could have been half as long.


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