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August 01 , 2009

Sounds of the South


Beyond the familiar forms of Mississippi Delta Blues and mainstream country music, the vernacular music of the South also ranges from the ceremonial music of Native Americans, to "shout" singing in South Carolina sea islands, Cajun fiddling, and Mexican-American conjunto music. Sounds of the South assesses past efforts to document these richly varied musical forms and the challenges facing future work.
"Sounds of the South"—a 1989 conference that gathered record collectors, folklorists, musicians, record producers, librarians, archivists, and traditional music lovers—celebrated the official opening of the Southern Folklife Collection with the John Edwards Memorial Collection at the library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Based on that conference, Sounds of the South includes Bill Malone's account of his own career as fan and scholar of country music, Paul Oliver on European blues scholarship, and Ray Funk on researching Black Gospel Quartets.
The contributors look at a number of topics related to the role of the archivist/folklorist in recording and documenting the music of the South—evaluating past fieldwork and current needs in documentation, archival issues, prospects for the publication of recordings, and changes in music and technology. Written in an accessible style, this volume will be of interest to all those concerned with preserving the music of the American South.
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