The Land where the Blues Began

Front Cover
Delta, 1993 - Music - 539 pages
10 Reviews
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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Review: The Land Where the Blues Began

User Review  - Erik - Goodreads

A true monument of American cultural history - a must-read, whether or not you have the slightest curiosity for the roots of the blues. Lomax's harrowing tales of the brutally segregated mid-century ... Read full review

Review: The Land Where the Blues Began

User Review  - Chambers Stevens - Goodreads

Alan Lomax brought traditional music to the masses. Here is how he did it. Read full review

About the author (1993)

Born in Austin, Texas, and educated at Harvard University, the University of Texas, and Columbia University, American folklorist Alan Lomax is one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable folk-music scholars of the twentieth century. Lomax became interested in collecting and recording folk songs through the work of his father, John Avery Lomax, a curator at the Library of Congress and a pioneer in the field of folk music. After college, he toured prisons in the South, recording folk song performances for the Archive of American Song of the Library of Congress. During his travels, he met the great blues singer Huddie Ledbetter ("Leadbelly"). Lomax later became responsible for introducing radio audiences to a number of folk and blues artists, including Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives. Between 1951 and 1958, he traveled throughout Europe, recording hundreds of folk songs in England, Scotland, Italy, and Spain. His most important work is, perhaps, "The Folk Songs of North America" (1959). He also published a number of works with his father, including "American Ballads and Folk Songs" (1934) and "Folk Song: USA" (1946). In addition to his work with folk songs, Lomax was very interested in the historical and social origins of jazz, and he wrote a notable biography of the early jazzman Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton entitled "Mister Jelly Roll" (1950).

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