Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Album 'Pure Blues, Music History'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Album 'Pure Blues, Music History'

Article excerpt

Well. We're certainly embarrassed here at the HQ. An email arrived yesterday that reminded me that I had not yet written about an album that I should have, several months ago.

And it wasn't just any album. Its music is more than just entertainment, although it is entertaining. It's pure blues and music history.

The album, "Jail House Bound" (West Virginia University Press), is the work of John Lomax, an American folklorist who spent years recording folk music at its source. It's also available from Global Jukebox, which offers the music that Mr. Lomax and his son, Alan, found, in digital formats.

This 23-song CD represents music Mr. Lomax recorded on his first trip through the South in 1933, capturing the work songs, chants and blues of blacks in some of the most infamous Southern prisons -- for example, Sugar Land in Texas and Parchman Farm in Mississippi. Lomax recorded elsewhere, of course, finding what he called "poetic expressions of pungent wit, simple beauty, startling imagery, extraordinary vividness and power. …

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