The Mary Lomax Ballad Book

Charles Seeger once said that a folk song is not a text and a tune, but a text and a tune and a mode of performance that comes from a singer's life and culture. Mary Lomax (and her sister Bonnie Loggins) embody this threefold hallmark of authenticity. Their repertoire of ballads, songs, and religious songs were learned from their father Lemuel Payne, and they sing them as they learned them: unadorned, without drama, and with honesty and skill. This collection documents a way of life that is rapidly vanishing. It contains the lyrics of 79 songs and includes two CDs containing 59 songs from the collection.

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Hardcover Book and 2 CDs — May 2, 2013
It contains the lyrics of 79 songs and includes two CDs containing 59 songs from the collection.


The Mary Lomax Ballad Book: America’s Great 21st Century Traditional Singer—Collected and Annotated by Art Rosenbaum, with Bonnie Loggins, Casey Loggins, Pashie Towery, Roy Tench (fiddle), photographs by Margo Rosenbaum, 210 pages with 2 CDs, hardcover only, Loomis House Press, edited by Ed Cray, book cover Susan Archie, photo by Alix Taylor. Foreword by Alice Gerrard; Edited by Ed Cray; Published by CAMSCO Music (dick greenhaus); 210 + xviii pp; copyright 2013 by Art Rosenbaum. $37.50 Hard Cover only. You can order from dick@camscomusic.com or by phone at 800/548-FOLK .

Samples

Audio source missing
Click the player above to preview “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” with Mary Lomax.

Press

The Mary Lomax Ballad Book

Art Rosenbaum’s interest in Mary Lomax and her sister Bonnie Loggins sprang not from music, but through a shared connection to the visual arts. In the early 2000s, Cleveland, Georgia folk art dealer Barbara C. Brogdon introduced Rosenbaum to the self-taught artist Bonnie Loggins. Rosenbaum was immediately captivated; not only by Bonnie’s visual artistry, but also intrigued by the traditional folk songs Bonnie had inherited from her father. Bonnie dispensed these tunes and ballads, as well as her own inventive songs and poems, often and with great pleasure. It was during a visit with Bonnie in 2006 that Rosenbaum met the painter and muralist’s sister, Mary, who had taken on the responsibility of documenting her father’s folk songs and ballads. Unlike Bonnie, whose illiteracy restricted her repertoire to childhood memory, Mary referred to typewritten texts to perform her father’s ballads. The sister’s interest in their father’s songs and tunes has resulted in one of the most comprehensive collections of music from the Southern Appalachians, which Art Rosenbaum has chronicled with care.

The Mary Lomax Ballad Book: America’s Great 21st Century Traditional Singer—collected and annotated by Art Rosenbaum—reads as a collection of transcribed ballads and fiddle tunes. The hardcover, designed by Susan Archie of World of anArchie, includes two CDs with 59 songs, plus another 20 transcriptions without accompanying audio. The book is divided into discs A and B, with a brief introduction and explanation of the songs included. Together, the collection paints a rich portrait of an oral tradition passed down to Mary and her sister Bonnie through their late father, and the continuation of that tradition in their own music. The folk form comes to life on the lips of Mary Lomax, for example in “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” (highlighting a great sense of humor) and all-instrumental songs like “Rocky Road to My Daughter’s House” [fiddle by Roy Tench] give the feeling of a human presence long forgotten in the mountains of North Georgia.

Audio: Click the player above to preview “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” with Mary Lomax.

Art Rosenbaum’s The Mary Lomax Ballad Book: America’s Great 21st Century Traditional Singer: with Bonnie Loggins, Casey Loggins, Pashie Towery, and Roy Tench (Fiddle); 2 CDs with Performances; 59 Songs, Ballads, and Fiddle Tunes; and 20 Texts Without Tunes; Collected And Annotated With Text and Annotations By Art Rosenbaum; with archival family photographs and photographs by Margo Newmark Rosenbaum; Foreword by Alice Gerrard; Edited by Ed Cray; Published by CAMSCO Music (dick greenhaus); 210 + xviii pp; copyright 2013 by Art Rosenbaum. $37.50 Hard Cover only. You can order from dick@camscomusic.com or by phone at 800/548-FOLK .

-Alix Taylor

Read article at Burnaway.org

Online Reviews

“It is amazing to me that you you can find someone in the 21st century who sings all those wonderful versions of old songs.” If it had been published 50 years ago, it would be a classic. To be published in the 21st is a miracle, somewhere between turning water in to wine and turning a tadpole in to a frog. — Airymouse, The Mudcat Cafe User Review