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Smithsonian Folkways Collection
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The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

by Lead Belly
 
Born in 1888, Huddie Ledbetter was the son of a sharecropper; he was born on a Louisiana plantation and learned to play guitar after long days working on his father's farm. After he struck out on his own at the age of 16, Ledbetter's life was full of adventures, both good and bad and including a murder conviction, but while in prison he picked up the nickname

Overview

Born in 1888, Huddie Ledbetter was the son of a sharecropper; he was born on a Louisiana plantation and learned to play guitar after long days working on his father's farm. After he struck out on his own at the age of 16, Ledbetter's life was full of adventures, both good and bad and including a murder conviction, but while in prison he picked up the nickname Lead Belly, and after writing a handful of great songs (and learning a hundred more) that he made his own with his passionate vocal style that melded blues and folk styles and his distinctive 12-string guitar work, he was freed and became one of the most influential folk artists in American music. Lead Belly recorded literally hundreds of songs over the course of his career (including a number of archival sessions recorded for the Library of Congress), and his music would influence a striking array of artists, from Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Odetta to Van Morrison, John Fogerty, and Kurt Cobain. The Smithsonian Folkways Collection is a five-disc box set that represents the first attempt to offer a career-spanning overview of the career of a giant of American music, including 108 tracks, 16 of which see their first release on this collection.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Lead Belly is “the hard name of a harder man,” said Woody Guthrie of his friend and fellow American music icon who was born Huddie Ledbetter (c. 1888–1949). From the swamplands of Louisiana, the prisons of Texas, and the streets of New York City, Lead Belly and his music became cornerstones of American folk music and touchstones of African American cultural legacy. With his 12-string Stella guitar, he sang out a cornucopia of songs that included his classics “The Midnight Special,” “Irene," “Bourgeois Blues,” and many more, which in turn have been covered by musical notables such as the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison, Nirvana, Odetta, Little Richard, Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection brings us the story of the man as well as the musician.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2015
Label:
Smithsonian Folkways
UPC:
0093074020128
catalogNumber:
40201
Rank:
13540

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Irene (Goodnight Irene)
  2. The Bourgeois Blues
  3. Fannin Street (Mister Tom Hughes Brown)
  4. The Midnight Special
  5. John Henry
  6. Black Girl (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)
  7. Pick a Bale of Cotton
  8. Take This Hammer
  9. Cotton Fields
  10. Old Riley
  11. Rock Island Line
  12. The Gallis Pole
  13. Ha-Ha This a Way
  14. Sukey Jump
  15. Boll Weevil
  16. Scottsboro Boys
  17. Governor O.K. Allen
  18. Governor Pat Neff
  19. There's a Man Going Around Taking Names
  20. On a Monday
  21. You Can't Lose Me, Cholly
  22. Keep Your Hands Off Her
  23. We Shall Be Free

Disc 2

  1. Alabama Bound
  2. Almost Day
  3. Fiddler's Dram
  4. Green Corn
  5. Sally Walker
  6. Bring Me a Little Water, Silvy
  7. Julie Ann Johnson
  8. Linin' Track
  9. Whoa, Back, Buck
  10. Shorty George
  11. Ham and Eggs
  12. Moanin'
  13. Out On the Western Plains
  14. Noted Rider
  15. Meeting At the Building
  16. Good, Good, Good (Talking, Preaching)/We Shall Walk Through the Valley
  17. Ain't You Glad (The Blood Done Signed My Name)
  18. I'm So Glad, I Done Got Over
  19. The Hindenburg Disaster
  20. Ella Speed
  21. Haul Away Joe
  22. Old Man
  23. Sweet Jenny Lee
  24. Jean Harlow
  25. Laura
  26. Queen Mary

Disc 3

  1. Good Morning Blues
  2. Sail On, Little Girl
  3. Easy Rider
  4. Poor Howard
  5. Duncan and Brady
  6. How Long, How Long
  7. T.B. Blues
  8. Jim Crow Blues
  9. Pigmeat
  10. John Hardy
  11. Outskirts of Town
  12. 4, 5 and 9
  13. In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down)
  14. Red Cross Store Blues
  15. Diggin' My Potatoes
  16. Blind Lemon
  17. When a Man's a Long Way From Home
  18. Alberta
  19. Excerpt from "The Lonesome Train"
  20. National Defense Blues
  21. Hitler Song (Mr. Hitler)
  22. Big Fat Woman
  23. Been So Long (Bellevue Hospital Blues)

Disc 4

  1. Wnyc-Folk Songs of America-Lead Belly: Grey Goose/Boll Weevil/Yellow Ga
  2. Wnyc-Folk Songs of America-Lead Belly and the Oleander Quartet: Almost
  3. If It Wasn't For Dicky
  4. What's You Gonna Do When the World's On Fire
  5. Rock Me (Hide Me In Thy Bosom)
  6. Packin' Trunk Blues
  7. Leaving Blues
  8. How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
  9. One Dime Blues
  10. I'm Going To Buy You a Brand New Ford
  11. Jail-House Blues
  12. Shout On
  13. Come and Sit Down Beside Me
  14. Red River

Disc 5

  1. Yes, I Was Standing In the Bottom
  2. Ain't Going Down To the Well No More
  3. Everytime I Go Out
  4. Go Down, Old Hannah
  5. Black Betty
  6. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
  7. Stewball
  8. Ain't It a Shame To Go Fishin' On a Sunday
  9. Relax Your Mind
  10. Princess Elizabeth
  11. Silver City Bound
  12. The Titanic
  13. House of the Rising Sun
  14. It's Tight Like That
  15. Diggin' My Potatoes
  16. Springtime In the Rockies
  17. Backwater Blues
  18. Didn't Old John Cross the Water
  19. Dekalb Blues
  20. They Hung Him On the Cross
  21. They Hung Him On the Cross
  22. In the World

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lead Belly   Primary Artist,Guitar,Accordion,Vocals
Bessie Smith   Guest Appearance
Woody Guthrie   Mandolin,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Cisco Houston   Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Brownie McGhee   Guitar,Vocals
Pops Foster   Bass
Willie "The Lion" Smith   Piano
Sonny Terry   Harmonica
Anne Graham   Vocals,Guest Appearance
George Hall   Vocals
George Boyd   Vocals
Oleander Quartet   Vocals
Howard Scott   Vocals
Cecil Murray   Vocals

Technical Credits

Big Bill Broonzy   Composer
Leroy Carr   Composer
Blind Lemon Jefferson   Composer
Bessie Smith   Composer
Victoria Spivey   Composer
Earl Robinson   Composer
Alan Lomax   Arranger,Composer,Engineer
Moses Asch   Engineer
Gene Austin   Composer
Walter Donaldson   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Arranger,Composer
John A. Lomax   Arranger,Composer,Engineer
Jeff Place   Producer,Writer
Don Raye   Composer
Hudson Whittaker   Composer
Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey   Composer
Amos Easton   Composer
Jimmy Cox   Composer
Millard Lampell   Composer
Robert Sauer   Composer
Roy Bergere   Composer
D.A. Sonneborn   Executive Producer
Robert Santelli   Producer,Introduction,Essay
Greg Adams   Archival Assistant
Frederic Ramsey   Engineer
Charles Peterson   Portrait Photography
Dan Charette   Archival Assistant
John Reynolds   Proof Reading
Dale Cockrell   Images
Daniel E. Sheehy   Executive Producer
Woolsey   Composer
Roy Jordan   Composer
Edwin H. Morris   Composer
William Weldon   Composer
Tiny Robinson   Writer
Stephanie Smith   Archival Assistant
Cecilia Peterson   Archival Assistant
Emily Hilliard   Proof Reading
Miles Folley   Proof Reading
Martin Alexander Krzywy   Proof Reading
Emma Tainter   Proof Reading
Richard S. Blacher   Portrait Photography
Britta Anderson Loftus   Proof Reading
Blair Bainbridge   Proof Reading
Abe Greiss   Portrait Photography

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