Description of Moses Asch's work:
Artists With Whom Moses Asch Worked:
Books About Moses Asch and Folkways Records:
Making People's Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Records, by Peter D. Goldsmith.
Moses (Moe) Asch Biography:
By the time he started preserving traditional music on his own Folkways Records label in New York in 1948, Asch had developed an affinity for any musical expression which existed. Where other record labels were aimed at marketing a specific style of music to a specific community of people (i.e. R&B albums to African-American communities; country and western to rural people), Asch was focused on generalized distribution - placing all styles of music in equal reach to everyone. He recorded every style of traditional music imaginable - from Mormon hymns to political protest songs, to the Anthology of American Folk Music (compiled by Harry Smith, released on Folkways Records).
Famously, Moe Asch's office was cluttered with recordings and books and papers and other items - on every surface available. He was an ardent collector, student, and champion of music and culture. His Folkways releases were intended to be different from any other recording one might pick up at a record store. They were packaged in a two-sided case with two pockets - one for the LP, and another pocket for liner notes.
He ran Folkways Records from the time he created it in 1948 until his death in 1986. At that point, according to his plans and recommendations, Folkways was consumed by the Smithsonian Institute, where it resides today. In Asch's place stands a legacy which champions the vitality and importance of traditional music. Any musical sound a person could make, Asch believed, was worth someone else hearing. Whether the listener found inspiration or was simply unaffected, it didn't matter; as long as the music was sure to be heard by someone.
To learn more about Moses Asch's legacy, life, work, and the recordings he made for Folkways, check out this profile of Smithsonian Folkways Records.