“Our Singing Country”

John Lomax was a man who turned his hobby of collecting American Folk songs into a musical business career. Lomax saw that he could help preserve folk music in the future.  One of the first people Lomax recorded in 1933 was Huddie Ledbetter also known as Leadbelly he was an African American and guitarist.

Leadbelly a convicted murderer was “discovered” in a negro southern prison. I ask myself why was Lomax looking for negro songs especially from prisoners? He liked Leadbelly so much that when Leadbelly was released Lomax took him under his wings to make music or to him folk songs.

The Lomaxes had their own conception of what folk American folk song is. And because of that conception their view of folk songs lead people to believe this is what folk song is. They used Leadbelly as their protégé and formed into a musical character for American folk music. Lomax believed disconnecting from the radio, jazz, and whiteman will make a person bring a rawness to their singing and the only place he found that rawness was from prisoners.

Folk songs Lomax recorded had nothing to with political agendas but instead portrayed songs of America are a country whose strength lies on diversity of its people and traditions. Most if not all Lomax music was from/ by African Americans. He respected black culture and wanted to bridge the gap between blacks and whites through music. He recorded Negro songs that only sang about uniting people if it was about segregation or injustice he saw it as political or a drawback to what he was trying to achieve “unity”.

Lomax claims he respected black culture but to me he is contradicting in some ways yes he gave Leadbelly a career in music and if it was not for Lomax maybe we would have never heard of him. But if Lomax so wanted unity why he was using Leadbelly as his guinea pig instead of a co-worker or “employee”. To me Leadbelly was his personal slave who brought in the money for Lomax and his son. After leadbelly left jail he remained in his jail clothes, Lomax insisted that the audience knew Leadbelly was a convicted murderer. Leadbelly was chauffer and house keeper. Any money he made Lomax kept it. And because Leadbelly was so uneducated they took him for granted. Yet, Lomax claims he has respect for black culture and wants unity.  

All in All it turned out well for Leadbelly because today he is known as a pioneer in Folk and rock & roll music; whereas Lomax is hardly mentioned as the founder of Folk music. Lomaxes are well known for their collection of folk music than the creation of it. Both leadbelly and Lomax helped to form Americans of what America Folk music sounded like in the 1930’s and we should preserve that sound for generations to come. The songs defines “America” its legacy and its culture.

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Posted by yendie   @   3 October 2010

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1 Comments

Comments
Feb 1, 2014

For our gaming computer build though, we’ll stick with one that’s been proven to be reliable yet
affordable. There’s a certain charm to the game and its
story that reminds me of the old point-and-click games I played when
I was younger. Back in the early to mid 90s, most PC game companies had
to come up with ways to market their games and shareware was a great way
to do so. Small flathead screwdriver (to poke off the X-Clamps).

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