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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience (University of Illinois Press) by Stephen Wade

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Genuine local folk culture, including folk music, was more common in pre-World War II America before television and the accelerating pace of communication leveled distinctions. Associates of the Library of Congress, especially the famous father-son team of John and Alan Lomax, tirelessly recorded folk performers in their everyday settings in the 1930s and 1940s. Musician Stephen Wade closely examines 13 recordings from that vast cultural project, visiting the settings and detailing the history behind ‚ÄúRock Island Line‚ÄĚ and other songs that found their way from Library of Congress albums into the popular vocabulary. His text is wonderfully evocative of a lost America and the book includes a CD containing the songs he describes.