Alan Lomax. 17,000 Sound Recordings Online. For Free.
Folklorist Alan Lomax spent about 60 years, beginning in the 1930s, traveling around this country and the world recording our musical heritage. From a 1991 interview with Lomax on CBS:
"The modern computer with all its various gadgets and wonderful electronic facilities now makes it possible to preserve and reinvigorate all the cultural richness of mankind."The folks at the Association for Cultural Equity, a nonprofit organization founded by Lomax, have just put up 17,000 sound recordings on their website fulfilling Lomax's wishes. I encourage you to visit the Association for Cultural Equity website and spend some time traveling back in time and around the world with Lomax as your guide. Having access to this much musical history is well beyond important, it is an international treasure.
One of my favorites is the music and interviews from the 1966 Newport Folk Festival featuring Son House, Howling Wolf, Skip James, Bukka White, Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin, Clark Kessinger, Liam Clancy, Joe Heaney, Growling Tiger, Dixie Hummingbirds, Swan Silvertones, Gospel Harmonettes, Bessie Jones, Janie Hunter, Jimmy Driftwood, Dock Boggs, Kilby Snow, and others.
I'd also recommend checking out this interview with Lomax on NPR.
Here's Lomax's daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, from an atricle on NPR on her father:
"He believed that all cultures should be looked at on an even playing field," she says. "Not that they're all alike. But they should be given the same dignity, or they had the same dignity and worth as any other."Amen.