Absolutely the Best

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Leadbelly stands like a cornerstone in modern folk music. He showed that folk songs didn't have to be 300 years old and originate from the British Isles; instead they could be born out of American experience. Absolutely the Best offers a number of Leadbelly classics including "Roberta," "Midnight Special," and "In New Orleans House of the Rising Sun." There is a wonderful version of "The Bourgeois Blues," filled with cutting social commentary, and a haunting version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." There is a simple, affecting version of "Goodnight, Irene" and two versions of the outlaw ballad "John Hardy." Most of the cuts feature no more than the singer and his...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Leadbelly stands like a cornerstone in modern folk music. He showed that folk songs didn't have to be 300 years old and originate from the British Isles; instead they could be born out of American experience. Absolutely the Best offers a number of Leadbelly classics including "Roberta," "Midnight Special," and "In New Orleans House of the Rising Sun." There is a wonderful version of "The Bourgeois Blues," filled with cutting social commentary, and a haunting version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." There is a simple, affecting version of "Goodnight, Irene" and two versions of the outlaw ballad "John Hardy." Most of the cuts feature no more than the singer and his guitar, allowing Leadbelly's powerful voice to stand front and center. "How Long" receives a fuller arrangement with Sonny Terry's harmonica giving it a down and dirty blues feel. This disc will be educational for those who have only heard Creedence Clearwater Revival's version of "Midnight Special" or Led Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole." The difference is that Leadbelly could approach "Midnight Special" with sincerity, having spent a number of years in prison himself for murder. While there is nothing to complain about concerning this collection, it is irritating to find, on the song credits, Alan Lomax's name taking co-credit on songs like "The Bourgeois Blues." Lomax was an excellent field recorder, and he deserves praise for helping Leadbelly in a number of ways, but his helping hand came with a price. Leadbelly is an American original, and one has to know him to know American folk music. Absolutely the Best offers a good place for the listener to begin the acquaintance.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/3/2000
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • UPC: 030206108026
  • Catalog Number: 061080
  • Sales rank: 55,182

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lead Belly Primary Artist
Woody Guthrie Guitar
Sonny Terry Harmonica
Technical Credits
Lead Belly Composer
John Fogerty Composer
Alan Lomax Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
Huddie Ledbetter Composer
John A. Lomax Composer
Johnny Parth Producer
Johnny Rivers Composer
Bill Dahl Liner Notes
Ken Romanowski Liner Notes
Gerhard Wessely Remastering
M. Christian Composer
Ann Villena Cover Design
Len Fico Reissue Producer
Traditional Composer
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