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The Lomax Collection -- a 'renewal of the forgotten springs of human creativity.'
March 28, 2012 12:02 PM   Subscribe

NPR: "Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world." Now, nearly ten years after his death, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. "It's part of what Lomax envisioned for [his] collection — long before the age of the Internet." (Mr. Lomax, Previously on MeFi)

From the Association for Cultural Equity, which was founded by Lomax in 1983:
"The Sound Recordings catalog comprises over 17,400 digital audio files, beginning with Lomax’s first recordings onto (newly invented) tape in 1946 and tracing his career into the 1990s. In addition to a wide spectrum of musical performances from around the world, it includes stories, jokes, sermons, personal narratives, interviews conducted by Lomax and his associates, and unique ambient artifacts captured in transit from radio broadcasts, sometimes inadvertently, when Alan left the tape machine running. Not a single piece of recorded sound in Lomax’s audio archive has been omitted: meaning that microphone checks, partial performances, and false starts are also included."
The American Folklife Center, on their collection of his archives.
posted by zarq (27 comments total) 97 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have apparently died and gone to heaven.
posted by Aquaman at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


God, I love the internet.
posted by inturnaround at 12:11 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


feet of clay.....
posted by gallus at 12:12 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I knew the FBI had investigated Lomax, but not the extent. A small quote from it heads his obituary (under the "Lomax" link above.)

Ted Gioia apparently obtained several hundred pages of Lomax' 800 page FBI file a few years ago. He spoke about it to the LA Times back in 2006.
posted by zarq at 12:15 PM on March 28, 2012


Holy shit. This is awesome.
posted by khaibit at 12:16 PM on March 28, 2012


I made an audible "Nuh!" noise when I opened this page and zoomed out.
posted by theodolite at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2012


I have apparently died and gone to heaven.

What he said. How do I make this all mine? Besides pushing the little buttons one at a time. There should be a "download all for price" option. I’ll get a new hard drive and wait.
posted by bongo_x at 12:23 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome.
posted by trip and a half at 12:30 PM on March 28, 2012


I...I honestly don't know whether to cry or be sick with the happiness of it all.

Gonna start with the stuff closest to where my father grew up (in North Carolina), and move out from there.
posted by kalimac at 12:31 PM on March 28, 2012


All hands on deck!
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:41 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, I probably paid $80 for the Lomax Woodie Guthrie Box Set 10 years ago. Worth every penny, but still...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:59 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Double?
posted by mykescipark at 1:08 PM on March 28, 2012


mykescipark: "Double?"

I don't believe it is (although I'm obviously totally biased!) but I wish I'd seen that post earlier. Would have linked to it in this one.
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2012


I'm going through the "browse". But not finding anything!
posted by karathrace at 1:34 PM on March 28, 2012


There's a whole set of Irish sessions from 1951, including quite a lot of Seamus Ennis. Fascinating!
posted by Azara at 1:41 PM on March 28, 2012


karathrace: "I'm going through the "browse". But not finding anything!"

Same here. I just get 'There are no matching records found in our database.', 'No menu in repository with name' or a blank page, no matter which link I click from the sidebar or what search terms I use.

Which is completely doing my head in.
posted by jack_mo at 3:35 PM on March 28, 2012


Could anyone who's managed to get to an individual recording's page drop a link in the thread so I can try that?
posted by jack_mo at 3:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Earlier, I used the Advanced Search with Location 'Ireland' to get 13 pages of those Irish sessions from the 1950s. But I just tried the same thing again and now I'm getting nothing.
posted by Azara at 3:51 PM on March 28, 2012


Same here. I just get 'There are no matching records found in our database.', 'No menu in repository with name' or a blank page, no matter which link I click from the sidebar or what search terms I use.

Which is completely doing my head in.


It’s an elaborate prank we’re playing, "psyche!"

Actually, everything says "upcoming" now. I was listening earlier.
posted by bongo_x at 4:18 PM on March 28, 2012


It’s an elaborate prank we’re playing, "psyche!"

Hah!

Actually, everything says "upcoming" now. I was listening earlier.

Yeah, looks like they aren't set up to cope with everyone with an internet connection and a passing interest in music hitting the site at the same time. Which is fair enough. Fingers crossed they partner with archive.org/start selling the archive on a great big hard drive/plop it all in a torrent.
posted by jack_mo at 4:47 PM on March 28, 2012


Been awaiting this day for some time. Plenty of "new" prison recordings (my special obsession) which I had never heard.
posted by Miko at 7:56 PM on March 28, 2012


This is amazing...!

How do I make this all mine? Besides pushing the little buttons one at a time.

Looks like each page's source code has a direct path to an mp3 – the Flash player just pulls it down and plays it in your browser. So, for example, you can download this over here.
posted by cosmologinaut at 8:32 PM on March 28, 2012


Awesome! I'm reading Lomax's "The land where the blues began" and just today went through spotify to try and find the songs he was talking about in the book. It will be awesome to be able to listen to all of the field recordings that accompany the anecdotes in the book!
posted by ianhattwick at 11:00 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I clicked on Morocco and found a bit of nostalgia-inducing stuff (my family came from there). Thank you so much for posting this link!
posted by juifenasie at 5:50 AM on March 29, 2012


And down the rabbithole I go. Thanks for this!
posted by arcticseal at 6:47 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what the future was always supposed to look like!
YAY.

OMG, those 1947 prison recordings! OMG OMG
posted by Theta States at 9:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Land Where the Blues Began is an amazing book. I picked it up from the libary not knowing what a gem it was, and by the time I was 10 pages in was thinking "I need to own this book".
posted by Erroneous at 7:52 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


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