This year would have been the 100th birthday of one of the most influential people in American music — not a singer, composer, songwriter, or impresario, but a collector. Alan Lomax was a giant in the field of folklore, and his collection of recordings from Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and especially the Southern US is monumental. Lomax’s widest influence came from his trips to the rural South, where he sought out the acoustic folk blues that was still unknown to most Americans. Lomax’s recordings came to influence generations of musicians in the US and the rest of the world. Without him, we might never have had rock and roll as we know it.