The Alan Lomax Sound Archive Now Online: Features 17,000 Recordings

Dan Coleman, Open Culture, Mar 29, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Maybe we could just do a reset on our musical tastes and go back as a society to these standards and start over, remixing them and sharing them as a culture this time, instead of spawning a proprietary music industry. Or - ah - maybe I'm just dreaming. "

It’s an amazing resource. For a quick taste, here are a few examples from one of the best-known areas of Lomax’s research, his recordings of traditional African American culture:
- “John Henry” sung by prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Parchman Farm, in 1947.
- “Come Up Horsey,” a children’s lullaby sung in 1948 by Vera Hall, whose mother was a slave.
- “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town” performed by Big Bill Broonzy, 1952.
- “Story of a slave who asked the devil to take his master,” told by Bessie Jones in 1961."

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