In 1908 John Lomax set out on horseback with an Edison phonograph and wax cylinders to record and preserve America's folk music. He spent the next four decades doing some hard travelling and found over 5,000 songs in Arkansas mountain cabins, Mississippi prison farms, New Orleans saloons, Minnesota lumber camps and Texas cattle camps. He discovered ballads, blues, children's songs, fiddle tunes, field hollers, lullabies, play-party songs, religious dramas, spirituals, and work songs and his recordings inspired generations of musicians from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to Billy Bragg and Kurt Cobain.
Adventures of a Ballad Hunter is Lomax's own memoir of an eventful life containing vibrant, often haunting, stories of the people he met and recorded, as well as the lyrics for dozens of songs. Lomax describes singers and musicians from Silver Jack and Big Bill Swanson to Lead Belly, he relates the stories behind some of the twentieth-century's most important songs, 'Home on the Range' and 'Goodnight Irene' to 'Rock Island Line' and 'In the Pines'. Discover his trip to Parchman Convict Farm where he first heard 'The Midnight Special' and the funeral home in South Carolina where he heard the spiritual classic 'Honey in the Rock'. Adventures of a Ballad Hunter is essential reading for all music fans-from folkies, alt-country to blues and roots music, as well as a perceptive portrait of America's history.