Review of Tim Brooks. 2004. Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press

Graham, Sandra Jean

The post-civil rights era gave rise to a surge in revisionist scholarship devoted to African American music, much of it inspired by Eileen Southern’s seminal Music of Black Americans ([1971] 1997). Southern and the scholars who followed in her wake restored lost musicians, lost images, lost words, lost scores, and lost experiences to the historical record, which radically changed how we study, perceive, and teach American music. Tim Brooks’s magnificent new book on America’s earliest black recording artists, Lost Sounds, is a treasure chest of new information that reminds us, should we feel complacent, that there is still much work to be done in recovering and understanding America’s musical past.


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August 18, 2022