The Man Who Recorded the World: A Biography of Alan Lomax

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Random House, May 31, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 448 pages

Writer, musicologist, archivist, singer, DJ, filmmaker, record, radio and TV producer, Alan Lomax was a man of many parts. Without him the history of popular music would have been very different.

Armed with a tape-recorder and his own near-flawless good taste, Lomax spent years travelling the US, particularly the south, recording its heritage of music and song for posterity, bringing to light the talents of performers ranging from Jelly Roll Morton to Leadbelly and Muddy Waters, and crucially influencing generations of musicians from Pete Seeger to the Stones, from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan.

His influence continues: recordings made by Lomax are the core of the sound-tracks of Oh Brother, Where art Thou? and Gangs of New York, and even featured, remixed, on Moby's Play.

John Szwed's biography is the first ever of this remarkable and contradictory man (whom he both knew and worked with for ten years); through it Szwed will tell the story of a musical and political era, as he did so successfully in his previous book on Miles Davis.

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User Review  - FrancescaForrest - LibraryThing

I got a notice from the library that this had come due, and I was going to return it without finishing it, as it's so dense, but just now I was dipping in, and there are so many gems and vignettes, I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FrancescaForrest - LibraryThing

I got a notice from the library that this had come due, and I was going to return it without finishing it, as it's so dense, but just now I was dipping in, and there are so many gems and vignettes, I ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

John Szwed is Professor of Music and Jazz Studies at Columbia University, and Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of a number of books, including Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth, Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World and So What: The Life of Miles Davis.

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