Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World

Written by:
John Szwed
Narrated by:
Scott Sowers

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
December 2010
20 hours 30 minutes
The remarkable life and times of the man who popularized American folk music and created the science of songFolklorist, archivist, anthropologist, singer, political activist, talent scout, ethnomusicologist, filmmaker, concert and record producer, Alan Lomax is best remembered as the man who introduced folk music to the masses. Lomax began his career making field recordings of rural music for the Library of Congress and by the late 1930s brought his discoveries to radio, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Burl Ives. By the 1940s he was producing concerts that brought white and black performers together, and in the 1950s he set out to record the whole world.Lomax was also a controversial figure. When he worked for the U. S. government he was tracked by the FBI, and when he worked in Britain, MI5 continued the surveillance. In his last years he turned to digital media and developed technology that anticipated today's breakthroughs. Featuring a cast of characters including Eleanor Roosevelt, Leadbelly, Carl Sandburg, Carl Sagan, Jelly Roll Morton, Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan, Szwed's fascinating biography memorably captures Lomax and provides a definitive account of an era as seen through the life of one extraordinary man.
Profile Avatar

I wanted to like this one more. Alan Lomax was a critical force in bringing folk and blues to the general public. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the author knew what audience he was writing for. In some ways, the book felt more like an attempt at a doctoral thesis rather than an entertaining biography. He spends a lot of time "telling" but almost no time "showing." The book was, at times, painfully tedious. And even when presenting a truly astounding moment--the fist fight between an aging Lomax and and equally aging Albert Grossman after Lomax went out of his way to publicly insult The Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Newport, he just brushes past it. The book is full of data. But not full of entertaining anecdotes.

Profile Avatar
Jeff C

The narrator does a good job with a interesting read that drags a little near the finish when all the talk of metrics of analysis. An interesting life which opened the world to folk music as a Universal Art form.

1 book added to cart
View Cart