Book Review Rita Kohn Old-Time Music and Dance: Community and Folk Revival By John Bealle Indiana University Press; $24.95 John Bealle is an old-time fiddler whose sojourn in Bloomington, Ind., from the mid 1970s through the 1980s was marked by his friendship with Lotus Dickey and association with the traditional American old-time music and dance group that began in the summer of 1972. The book comes at an opportune time, when the beguiling story of America’s folksong revival is lapsing into faded memory. Spiritual qualities arose from a time when people became their entertainment through active participation. What Bealle delivers is a story of how circumstances led people toward a social order that made life in small towns here, there and elsewhere communal and centered around music in its basic format. What is a folk revival, and of what consequence is it to individual participants and society as a whole? The sniffing-out of an answer begins on page 2 and concludes 311 pages later. In seeking “alternatives to the ills of modern life,” a growing group of “towners and gowners” grasped the opportunity to bridge differences and gain common ground through auspicious encounters. Bloomington’s town square opened itself to marginalized culture groups. Only with the emergence of rock music did things “folk” decline into another wave. Elvis Presley did indeed stop the world for two succeeding generations to get off. The book provides a good overview about old-time music and dance from the founding of the nation to the present, a who’s who of revivalists, and a fine analysis of social and political conditions that drove the movement and continue to factor into the life-style of Bloomington and Southern Indiana.

0
0
0
0
0