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Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    A great accomplishment

    What a delight this thick book is, and what a challenge to describe adequately in a few sentences. 'Lost Sounds' is a detailed look at an aspect of the American music industry that is not just forgotten; it seems hardly to have ever been fully appreciated -- the early years of recorded music, with an emphasis on the essential contribution made by African American artists. The book has been praised as a unique reference work, and it is that; but it is also a captivating history of late 13th- and early 20th-century American popular culture, as well as a collection of poignant personal stories of the entertainers who created it. Along the way, the book is a primer on recording technology. And, although these accounts of once-popular performers and their now-unfamiliar careers are not in the least preachy, they do constitute a carefully documented examination of a key ¿ and often painful -- era in American race relations. Author Tim Brooks is himself an unobtrusive character in these adventures, the modest yet sympathetic researcher who has come along a century after the fact to ferret out the information, breathe new life into it, and in many instances save it from oblivion. All of which makes 'Lost Sounds' not only an extraordinary good read, but also an exceptional good deed.

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