Here is an early, influential and fantastic album issued by the Library of Congress in 1942. It was first issued on an album of 78rpm records and then was reissued on this disc early in the LP era. This record AAFS L2, “Anglo-American Shanties, Lyrics Songs, Dance Tunes and Spirituals from the Archive of American Folk Song,” is the 2nd in the “Folk Music of the United States” series and was edited by Alan Lomax.
There’s some pretty amazing stuff on here. In fact, all of it is great. It’s a great record! The field recordings on this album were newly made at the time of the album’s release. This was the latest hot off the press stuff. The field recordists who made these recordings, Alan and Elizabeth Lomax, Pete Seeger, Herbert Halpert, Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin are a good representation of the small group of early modern folklorists busy making field recordings of Southern music at that time.
There’s some clutch stuff on here. These recordings were very influential early on to Pete Seeger, who made several of them, and to the members of the New Lost City Ramblers among others. Mike Seeger has recorded his own versions of many of the song variants found on this album.
Here’s an unfair question: How do you think this record, or better this series, of field recordings edited by Alan Lomax and issued in 1942, relates to the Anthology of American Folk Music, composed of commercially recorded 78s, which was edited by Harry Smith and issued in 1952? Contrary to some popular conceptions, there were amazing and influential compilations of folk music issued before the Anthology…
I will continue to post more volumes from this series, but I think this one is my favorite.
See below for track information and notes: