Between 1933 and 1942 Alan Lomax traveled throughout rural Kentucky to record songs for the Archive of American Folk Songs at the Library of Congress. Among the many types of songs Lomax recorded were a number of children’s songs, some actually sung by children such as “I Had Me a Cat” sung by Little Babe Caldwell in Ashland, KY 1937.
In the 1930s the recording industry had been underway for well over 20 years. Record companies had exploited folk music by rural musicians, but they focused on recording only the music they saw as having commercial value. Lomax recorded the full breadth of regional traditions, not just the tunes and songs the record companies thought might sell. He recorded unaccompanied ballads, children’s games and lullabies, and topical and protest songs.
The digitized versions of the Kentucky Lomax recordings are now available through the Berea College Special Collections and Archives at http://lomaxky.omeka.net.