Personalities | John & Alan Lomax | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Folklorists, John Avery Lomax 1867–1948; Alan Lomax 1915–2002)

John Lomax was born in Goodman, Mississippi and raised near Fort Worth, Texas. Although his initial interest lay in cowboy songs, a pre-teen friendship with a servant named Nat Blythe sparked an interest in black music. With the 1910 publication of Cowboy Songs And Other Frontier Ballads, his reputation was established. His work on black music took root with a consultancy to the Library of Congress in 1933.

Alan Lomax was 18 when he joined his father to record musicians and singers in their natural habitat. In July 1933, the Lomaxes arrived at Angola Penitentiary, where they discovered Leadbelly. Alan continued his father’s essential fieldwork, most notably by finding Son House and discovering Muddy Waters in 1941. Much of Alan’s best field recordings were released commercially on Atlantic Records (The Songs Of The South, which contained Mississippi Fred McDowell’s first recordings). His 1993 memoir, The Land Where The Blues Began, recounts all of these adventures.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Jimmie Lunceford | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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