Romancing the Folk Public Memory and American Roots Music

ISBN-10: 080784862X
ISBN-13: 9780807848623
Edition: 2000
Authors: Benjamin Filene
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Description: In American music, the notion of "roots" has been a powerful refrain, but just what constitutes our true musical traditions has often been a matter of debate. As Benjamin Filene reveals, a number of competing visions of America's musical past have  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 6/26/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 344
Size: 6.12" wide x 9.25" long x 0.87" tall
Weight: 1.210

In American music, the notion of "roots" has been a powerful refrain, but just what constitutes our true musical traditions has often been a matter of debate. As Benjamin Filene reveals, a number of competing visions of America's musical past have vied for influence over the public imagination in this century. Filene builds his story around a fascinating group of charactersfolklorists, record company executives, producers, radio programmers, and publicistswho acted as middlemen between folk and popular culture. These cultural brokers "discovered" folk musicians, recorded them, and promoted them. In the process, Filene argues, they shaped mainstream audiences' understanding of what was "authentic" roots music. Filene moves beyond the usual boundaries of folk music to consider a wide range of performers who drew on or were drawn into the canon of American roots musicfrom Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie, to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, to Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. Challenging traditional accounts that would confine folk music revivalism to the 1930s and 1960s, he argues instead that the desire to preserve and popularize America's musical heritage is a powerful current that has run throughout this century's culture and continues to flow today.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Setting the Stage: Identifying an American Folk Music Heritage, 1900-1930
Creating the Cult of Authenticity: The Lomaxes and Lead Belly
Mastering the Cult of Authenticity: Leonard Chess, Willie Dixon, and the Strange Career of Muddy Waters
Searching for Folk Music's Institutional Niche: Alan Lomax, Charles Seeger, B. A. Botkin, and Richard Dorson
Performing the Folk: Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan Coda
Notes
Bibliography
Discography Index
Illustrations Front cover of Folk Songs of the Kentucky Mountains, 1917
Front cover of Twenty Kentucky Mountain Songs, 1920
Front cover of Carl Sandburg's
American Songbag, 1927
Recording equipment in the back of John Lomax's car, probably late 1930s
Prison Compound No. 1, Angola, La., 1934
Lead Belly in prison, Angola, La., July 1934
Lead Belly in
Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly, 1936
Lead Belly, 1942
Muddy Waters, ca. 1960s
Leonard Chess, ca. 1960s, ca. 1960s
Fathers and Sonsalbum cover, 1969
Franklin Roosevelt with local musicians, Warm Springs, Ga., January 1933
Charles Seeger with his family at their home in Washington, D.C., ca. 1937
with guitar, ca. 1940
at typewriter, 1941
Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, 1963
Pete Seeger at Newport Folk Festival workshop, 1964
Bob Dylan goes electric, Newport Folk Festival, 1965

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