Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nerd History: Alan Lomax

I was informed recently that a treasure trove of Alan Lomax's field recordings were released to the public and put online. Alan Lomax was one of the great Renaissance Men of the 20th century - a musician, a politician, a historian, an archivist, his work is underappreciated by the masses and indispensable in regards to our knowledge of music and culture in American history. His Wikipedia entry does a good job scratching the surface, and I've spent perhaps too much time in the sound archives trying to find little treasures along the way.

What's interesting about Lomax is how far his reach is without most of us knowing. He did most of his cultural work decades ago, and secured the copyright and publication rights of many of the field recordings he gathered over the years. This resulted in a recent pecularity regarding Jay-Z's song "Takeover," where Jay-Z samples a KRS-One song - a song KRS-One sampled from Grand Funk Railroad, which is based initially off of a folk song recorded by Alan Lomax, which means Lomax has a piece of a Jay-Z song. This blog post goes into better detail, copyright negativity aside, about how strange the situation is as well as how long Lomax's cultural reach is.

No comments:

Post a Comment