Lost Delta Found: The Fisk University–Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941–1942

John W. Work, Author, Lewis Wade Jones, Author, Samuel C. Adams, Jr., Author , Edited by Robert Gordon and Bruce Nemerov. Vanderbilt Univ. $34.95 (343p) ISBN 978-0-8265-1485-1

Gordon and Nemerov have rescued from oblivion an important study of black life in rural Mississippi. Famed folklorist Alan Lomax (1915–2002) won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993 for The Land Where the Blues Began , his memoir about recording Southern blues music 50 years earlier. Lomax, however, made scant mention of his research associates, three African-American scholars from Fisk University in Nashville—composer-musicologist Work, sociologist Jones and graduate student Adams—who made significant, valuable contributions. Work's 160 song transcriptions of 1941–1942 field recordings form the 100-page centerpiece of this book, and equally illuminating are insightful essays by the Fisk trio on plantation folklore and traditions, already fading at that time as urban influences permeated the Mississippi Delta. Although a joint Fisk–Library of Congress publication was originally planned, the once-lost Fisk manuscripts have never seen print until now. More than a few editorial comments hint at the conflicts involving Lomax: "That the manuscripts were found in the Lomax archives six decades after they went missing may reveal much about how research is, and is not, shared, attributed, and published." Photos. (Aug. 30)

Reviewed on: 06/13/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-8265-1486-8
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