The Land Where the Blues Began (1979)
Expanded original. In 1978 Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and folklorist Worth Long set out to make a film in Mississippi that would be the equivalent of Lomax's classic LP, Blues in the Mississippi Night. With collaboration from Paula Tadlock and the Mississippi PBS station, they shot thirty-plus hours of blues singers, railroad crews, storytellers, church services, and picnics. This was edited into an hour-long program televised in Mississippi in 1980 and later restructured to fit the format of the American Patchwork series that aired on PBS in 1991. This is the original version, before it was edited for television, with more music and less narration, with sections omitted from the edit, 40 minutes of additional musical performances; the 30-minute first edit of the levee camp workers talking; a film about making the film based on John Bishop's 1978 journal that follows the chronology of the trip; a transcript of the film; and several articles in PDF format.
Rhythms of Earth
Survey the dazzling variety of dance, music, costume and public presentation of culture around the world with Dance and Human History,
Step Style, Palm Play, and The Longest Trail by Alan Lomax and Forrestine Paulay. CINE Golden Eagle Awards, Dance Film Festival Awards,
Margaret Mead Film Festival honorees.
Screening Room: Alan Lomax (1974). Ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner interviews Alan Lomax about Dance & Human History. (34 min.)
Short film illustrating the Global Jukebox. (1993, 10 min.)
Interview with choreographer and dance analyst, Forrestine Paulay, on the perspectives and methodology of the Choreometrics system of dance and movement analysis. (2006, 17 min.)
Conversation with Michael Del Rio, programmer of the Global Jukebox, and anthropologist and biostatistician, Michael Flory. (2006, 22 min.)
Interview with Michael Flory on the statistical methods used in the Performance Style studies and the greater scope for such work today. (2008, 16 min.)
PDF documents (177 pages):
Padstow, a fishing village on the coast of Cornwall, celebrates May Day with a unique custom: two osses (hobbyhorses) dance
through the town streets accompanied by drums and accordions. All Padstownians participate in this exciting event,
which has now become a tourist attraction drawing over 30,000 visitors. This highly entertaining collection includes four
films exploring older and contemporary manifestations of this jolly event. (All-region dual-sided NTSC/PAL DVD)
"America has a patchwork culture made of the dreams and songs of all its people".
Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop explore the enduring African-American performance traditions of the Mississippi Delta. Featuring bluesmen R. L. Burnside and Jack Owens; tall-tale tellers, fife and drum bands, and diddley-bow players; and former prisoners, railroad workers, and roustabouts singing field hollers, work chants, and levee camp songs. Produced with support from Mississippi Educational Television.
A celebration of New Orleans musical culture from its piano bars and barrelhouses to brass bands and street parades, with their colorful, riotous, and emblematic second lines in which the community plays an essential role in the performance. Shot in the thick of funeral parades and nightclubs, with performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Danny Barker, Feet Don't Fail Me Now tells the story of New Orleans' unique and priceless jazz heritage.
The bayous of Louisiana have stirred French, German, West Indian, Native American, and hillbilly ingredients into a piquant cultural mix. Cajun Country takes us back to Cajun roots in Western France, visits their cattle drives, horse races, and barroom dances in rural Louisiana and listens to the salty tales and raunchy songs of its black, white, and Indian music-makers. Performers include Canray Fontenot, Bois Sec Ardoin, Michael Doucet, Octa Clark, Dewey Balfa, and Dennis McGee.
Alan Lomax travels through the hills and hollers of the Southern Appalachians investigating the songs, dances, and religious rituals of the descendents of the Scotch-Irish frontier people who have made the mountains their home for centuries. Preachers, fiddlers, moonshiners, cloggers and square dancers recount the good times and hard times of rural life.
Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old
The talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and storytellers, who perform not for fame or fortune but to preserve and share their culture. Stories told by Janie Hunter of Johns Island, S.C.; ballads sung by ex-coal miner and union organizer Nimrod Workman of Chatteroy, W.V.; fiddle tunes and tales of moonshiners and feuds from Tommy Jarrell of Toast, N.C.; and scenes of the Alabama Sacred Harp Convention in Fyffe, Alabama, where people of all ages gather to sing old-time shape-note hymnody.
Ballads, Blues & Bluegrass 1961
Folk greats Clarence Ashley, Willie Dixon, Roscoe Holcombe, Peter Lafarge, Memphis Slim, Doc Watson, the New Lost
City Ramblers, and more party at Alan Lomax's Greenwich Village apartment when the world was young.