Alan Lomax


Supercollectors: Lomax and 8-tracks

Friday, February 17, 2012

Supercollector Don Fleming of the Association for Cultural Equity joins us to talk about history’s ultimate supercollector, the late ethnomusicologist and folk historian Alan Lomax. Plus, Fleming talks about his own collection, which includes 15,000 albums, 10,000 45-rpm singles, laserdiscs, Edison discs, Betamax video tapes ... and more eight-track tapes than you'd expect.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Leadbelly and Lomax Together at the American Music Festival

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's always exciting when we turn up an important long lost recording.  In this case, the unlabeled flip side of one of Mayor La Guardia's talks had half-a-show that's not been heard for 67 years. Hailing from February 14th, 1944, we hear two friends get together to share some music with each other and WNYC's listeners. And what better venue than the station's annual American Music Festival, eleven days of studio performances and concerts around the city dedicated to home-grown music and talent?  Talent indeed. Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, a renowned folksinger and bluesman, performed with pioneering folklorist Alan Lomax.


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The Takeaway

Life and Legacy of Alan Lomax

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Alan Lomax was a man whose boundless musical curiosity elevated folksongs to the level of “serious music.”  The lasting effect of his explorations, discoveries and archives alongside the developing technology of audio recording cannot be easily overstated. Lomax started his career in the 1930s, working for his father (John Lomax) at the Library of Congress Archive of American Folksongs where he collected some 25,000 songs. In the 1950’s he traveled and recorded the volume Columbia Library of World Music. His work had a large impact on Americans' understanding of the extraordinary nature of our "ordinary" culture. Take a listen to some of his legacy. 

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The Takeaway

Alan Lomax: Recorder of the World, Creator of Pandora?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To many people, Alan Lomax is simply the man who introduced the world to Woody Guthrie (and legendary folk songs like “This Land is Your Land”). But for Alan Lomax, Guthrie was just one of thousands of musical discoveries made over the course of more than half a century. Lomax, who served as Assistant Folk Song Archivist for the Library of Congress in the 1930s, recorded music from some of the most remote corners and people on earth — including Caribbean field workers, pygmies and black American prisoners. But how much do we know about the respected oral historian, producer, and interviewer? 

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