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Reviews513 rity Administration). They make clear that the photographs were essentially a political undertaking, intended to be used by the Roosevelt Administration to advance its own farm agenda. The discussion of the photographs is thus sensitive to the ongoing political disputes that accompanied them. As evidence in a bitter political contest, these photographs have lost much of their partisan tone. The years since the Great Depression have produced such extensive debate regarding the effect of New Deal farm policy that the photographs are now enveloped in that ambiguous legacy. What remains, according to Carlebach and Provenzo, are historical and cultural artifacts that happen to be works of art. Both editors and the University Press of Florida are to be commended for the quality of writing and production. Readers will return to these photographs again and again. I Say Me for a Parable—The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, Texas Bluesman. By Glen Alyn. Norton, 1993. 508 pp. Cloth, $28.00. David Evans L· professor of music at the University ofMemphis. He is the author of Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in the Folk Blues and the producer ofmany records ofblues and folk music. Mance Lipscomb (1895-1976) lived most his life in the Brazos River bottomlands in and around Navasota, Texas. He spent most of these yean as a farmer, sharecropping and renting land, and playing guitar and singing blues and other folksongs at "Saturday night suppers " in the community. His life changed dramatically in 1960, when he was visited by two music researchers. Recordings made for them led to a series of concerts, tours, festival appearances, documentary films, and more recordings that lasted until his death. An outstanding representative of the folk blues tradition, Lipscomb reached hundreds of thousands through recordings and personal appearances and influenced many young folk and rock musicians. His repertoire numbered some 350 songs. Glen Alyn recorded interviews by Lipscomb between 1973 and 1976, which resulted in 1,600 transcribed pages. Alyn also lived in the Navasota area from 1974 to 1979, soaking up the region's culture and history. His work on this book is a labor of love. Lipscomb strikes the reader as an honest observer of life and a garrulous, grandfatherly type who could reminisce for hours on his front porch. His discovery by the outside world occurred at an age when most people are ready to retire and take life easier. The system that had kept most black people like him in perpetual poverty and social subordination permeated his opinions and attitudes. He viewed his new career, fame, and comparative wealth as a God-sent reward for years of hard work, stoic endurance of the system, and civil treatment of others. Alyn began his project at a time when Lipscomb had become comfortable enough with his new existence to be as philosophical about it as he was with his earlier life. The autobiography presents a rare and singular view of both worlds from the inside. Alyn consistently and accurately preserves Lipscomb's nonstandard speech patterns and uses dialect spellings to convey the sound of his speech. Readers unfamiliar with this sort of speech may appreciate the nonstandard spellings. (I prefer the standard rendering , though I didn't find the book too difficult to read at a fairly rapid pace.) 514Southern Cultures The chapters are organized thematically in a more or less chronological order. Each chapter begins with two or three pages of setting and background by Alyn, followed by Lipscomb's nanative. The enthusiastic foreword by musician Taj Mahal and Alyn's introduction are mostly raves about Lipscomb and his importance as a musician. In the opening chapter Lipscomb describes himself in terms of religion, work, and home life. Other chapters follow: his mother, family, and schooling; guitar playing with his fiddler father and exposure to life outside the home; his adventures as a driver for legendary Texas lawman Frank Hamer and encounters with lynching and violence; his early musical influences , which included Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, andjimmie Rodgers; performances at Saturday night suppers and parties for white folks; work, farming, exploitation, and racism; his move to the city and a work injury that provided a cash settlement...


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