‘Shirley is a time traveller, a conduit for essential human aches, one of the greatest artists who ever lived’ Stewart Lee
‘Without doubt one of England’s greatest cultural treasures’ Billy Bragg
In AMERICA OVER THE WATER, celebrated English folksinger Shirley Collins offers an affecting account of her year-long stint as assistant to legendary musical historian and folklorist Alan Lomax. Collins describes a journey both emotional and musical, as she and Lomax work tirelessly to uncover the traditional music of the American South. Together, they traveled to Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama,9781474623377 Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia, encountering Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, and many others, their diligent work uncovering the traditional music of America’s heartland.
A fascinating journey into the cultural roots of traditional American music, blending the personal story of Shirley Collins’ relationship with Lomax and a unique first hand account of an America on the brink of the civil rights era, America Over the Water cuts right to the heart of the blues in a fascinating account of Collins’ and Lomax’s groundbreaking journey across the southern states of the USA to record the music that started it all.
Collins first met Lomax at a party hosted by English folksinger Ewan MacColl, who later married Peggy Seeger, half-sister of American folksinger and activist Pete Seeger. Collins’s chronicle of her time with Lomax, with whom she became romantically involved, recounts the discovery of a world of beauty and dignity in the face of deprivation and prejudice among America’s traditional folk and blues musicians.
Originally published over fifteen years ago, this definitive edition includes a new introduction by Shirley and an afterword from her collaborator Matthew Shaw.