New releases from the Alan Lomax Collection -- We review ''Deep River of Song: Big Brazos'' and ''Deep River of Song: Virginia and the Piedmont''

By Tony Scherman
June 16, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

New releases from the Alan Lomax Collection

The Alan Lomax Collection rolls on, spotlighting two Southern black musics: Texas prison songs (Deep River of Song: Big Brazos) and the legacy of the Southern Piedmont (Deep River of Song: Virginia and the Piedmont). The prison songs (1933-34), are too harsh and repetitive to be of more than ethnological interest, but that’s far from true of Virginia (’34-42), with the great harmonica player Sonny Terry, who’ll curl your hair, a young Josh White, and two incredible, unknown prisoners, banjoist Jimmie Strothers and guitarist Blind Joe. They’re long gone; may their music last forever. Brazos: B- Virginia: A

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