By John Szwed
The definitive biography of Alan Lomax-from John Szwed,"the most sensible song biographer within the business" (L.A. Weekly).
One of the main striking figures of the 20th century, Alan Lomax was once top recognized for bringing mythical musicians like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Muddy Waters, Lead stomach, and Burl Ives to the radio and introducing folks track to a mass viewers. Now John Szwed, the acclaimed biographer of Miles Davis and sunlight Ra, offers the 1st biography of Lomax, a guy who used to be as influential as he used to be controversial-trailed for years by means of the FBI, criticized for his people- song-collecting practices, denounced by way of a few as a purist and through others as a popularizer. This authoritative paintings finds how Lomax replaced now not simply the way in which all people within the kingdom heard song but additionally the best way they seen the US itself.
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Extra resources for Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World
Roberts’s intention to convey this humanness in American history resonates with Benjamin’s techniques for bringing historical time into experiential forms. He writes, “Let us imagine that a man dies on the very day he turns fifty, which is the day on which his son is born, to whom the same thing happens, and so on. ”6 Benjamin’s thought experiment is intended to give flesh to our sense of history. Even though everybody knows that 40 multiplied by 50 is 2000, Benjamin’s “anecdote,” as he calls it, nonetheless provokes a startling, or even shocking, historical perception and understanding that transforms a great stretch of time, one that usually evaporates into abstraction when we try to think about it, into time concretely measured by the largest unit that humans can still know experientially, the human lifespan.
RANDO Although the wish image has been much discussed among critical theorists, it has been far less often applied to analyses of contemporary technology. That honor has tended to fall to Benjamin’s seminal essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” in which Benjamin argued for the revolutionary and liberatory potential of technological reproduction. Benjamin begins that essay by invoking Marx on capitalist production. ” 17 Benjamin, following Marx, notes that changes in the superstructure, such as art and culture, tend to lag behind changes in the economic base, such as innovations that transform technological aspects of production.
In “On the Concept of History,” he claims, “The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer; he comes as the victor over the Antichrist. Only the historian capable of fanning the spark of hope in the past is the one who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he is victorious” (391). WISH IMAGES AND WISHFUL IMAGES: BENJAMIN AND BLOCH 25 The precise relation between the historian and the Messiah is not spelled out here, but it is clear that the historian’s commitment to the unmet hopes of the victims of history’s victors is part of the incipient conflagration that only reaches full flame in the total and utopian redemption of history.
Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World by John Szwed