Note: Alan Lomax talks about his relationship with Woody Guthrie. Alan says his father, John A. Lomax, was first to notice that America had a distinctive folk tradition. Woody had a copy of John A. Lomax's book, which helped to reinforce his own traditions. Two American song-style traditions united in the Ozarks: the more lyrical, tragic (typically Southern) Scotch-Irish and the (typically Northern) lumberjack/workingman ballad, including songs of protest and union songs. From the Ozarks to Oklahoma (also outlaw country) old ballads were freely revised to suit new circumstances, as Woody was to do, with new verses added to make them more comprehensible. Examples: Jimmy Driftwood's "Brennan on the Moor" and "Gypsy Davy." Cowboy songs remade Irish songs. Woody's vocal style. Woody's Welsh heritage contributed to his charm and fantastic way with words. Raised in a well-educated family, his father was a stump speaker. He had a youthful passion for communicating and winning people over: in high school became a speed typist, later a radio singer, telling the truth about what was happening at that time. Lomax first met him at a benefit for the Spanish Republic. Alan Lomax used him on his show, the Columbia School of the Air, broadcast twice a day on Tuesdays (it won a prize as the best radio show of the year). Woody stayed with Alan Lomax and his wife in Washington. First pages of his autobiography,? Bound for Glory" made John A. Lomax cry (though he didn't like his radical songs). Alan thinks his prose was in a class with that of James Joyce and Mark Twain. Lomax got Bill Dorlinger at Dutton to pay Woody a salary instead of an advance. Norman Corwin used him on many of his broadcasts. Woody needed someone to talk to who understood what he was doing. He had access to Alan Lomax's collection of recorded folk music and wore out Alan's copy out the Carter Family's "John Hardy." "I could give him access to all my friends in the entertainment world. Nick Ray was there, living with me. We had singing contests all night long." Alan recommended Guthrie for a job on Bonneville Dam. Marjorie Guthrie was "an incredibly wonderful woman." Martha Graham and her revolutionary feminist innovations in dance. The enchanting Guthrie children. Marjorie knew about Guthrie's skirt chasing. Woody's biographer [Joe Klein] made much too much of this. At the end of this tape a BBC announcer with a Scottish accent [Hamish Henderson?] is heard interviewing Alan
About the session: Undated recordings, including Lomax's dictation of his theory of cultural evolution, and a talk about Woody Guthrie on the BBC.
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