The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax

The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax

Words, Photographs, and Music

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
Presents photographs taken of folk musicians in the southern backcountry over fifty years ago by the renowned ethnomusicologist, depicting both legendary and anonymous musicians honing their crafts at home, at church, and with workers in the field.

Norton Pub
A Best Photo Book of 2012 by American Photo.A new look at the legendary folklorist and his work.
More than fifty years ago, on a trip dubbed “the Southern Journey,” Alan Lomax visited Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee, uncovering the little-known southern backcountry and blues music that we now consider uniquely American. Lomax’s camera was a constant companion, and his images of both legendary and anonymous folk musicians complement his famous field recordings.These photographs—largely unpublished—show musicians making music with family and friends at home, with fellow worshippers at church, and alongside workers and prisoners in the fields. Discussions of Lomax’s life and career by his disciple and lauded folklorist William Ferris, and a lyrical look at Lomax’s photographs by novelist and Grammy Award-winning music writer Tom Piazza, enrich this valuable collection.

Book News
It would be easy to argue that no American is truly educated until they know the work of Alan Lomax. Luckily, in this new book readers have Tom Piazza (essayist, journalist, ASCAP-Deems Taylor and Grammy Award-winning writer) and William R. Ferris (history, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) to tell the tale. Ferris was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (U. of Mississippi), former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Pulitzer Prize nominee; he offers an essay on Lomax's legacy. Piazza has teamed up with the Library of Congress to create this document of Lomax's trips through the rural American South in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, where Lomax met ordinary people from the Mississippi delta to the Appalachian hills, collected extraordinary stories, recorded extraordinary folk music, and took extraordinary pictures. Though the book is very well written for general readers and he is a more than able guide, Piazza knows enough to let Lomax's work do much of the talking; the book is filled with beautifully selected photographs, most in black and white, some in color. Though Lomax spent his life travelling the world to document the music of forgotten people (here, often poor white and black farmers and black chain-gang prisoners), it is startling how many of these images resonate not with horror or pity, but with the fierce joy of being alive and the pleasure of being seen and heard. In one arresting image, a circle of children with impossibly graceful legs is dancing across the Florida dirt; the taller figure among them is Zora Neale Hurston. The book comes with a CD of the music Lomax recorded from the people in the photographs. The excellent track notes are by Nathan Salsburg, and there is a discography for readers who want to hear more. This work is a pleasure for both eyes and ears, and a must for general readers with an interest in American music or history. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

This collection presents pictures taken of folk musicians in the southern backcountry over 50 years ago by the renowned ethnomusicologist depicts both legendary and anonymous musicians honing their crafts at home, at church and with workers in the field. 10,000 first printing

Publisher: New York ; London : The Library of Congress in association with W.W. Norton & Company, [2013]
Edition: 1st edition
Description: 134 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm + 1 sound disc (digital ; 4 3/4 inch)
ISBN: 9780393081077
Branch Call Number: 781.6213 Lom
Additional Contributors: Piazza, Tom, 1955-


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multcolib_susannel Oct 04, 2015

Words, Photography, and Music- that says it all. Comes with CD or the music that Lomax recorded.

Apr 19, 2014

This is an interesting book about the travels of Alan Lomax in the southern US. Great photographs.

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