Since we’re focusing on the Anthology, there’s really no place in this group for performers like Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly – twelve weeks isn’t even enough time to do the Anthology justice. But that’s one of the great things about having this blog – I managed to sneak Woody in as a comment on our financial situation, and now give you Leadbelly.

For those who may not know the story, Leadbelly was doing one of his periodic residencies at Angola Prison Farm when John and Alan Lomax arrived to do some recording in 1934. They recognized him as a performer of rare skill and power, and helped him get a pardon from the Governor of Louisiana (part of the pardon petition was Leadbelly’s recording of Goodnight, Irene).

He went on to become one of the stalwarts of the 1940’s New York folk scene and even did a European tour shortly before his death. The video below is longer (nine minutes) than most I’ve posted, but well worth the time. It’s dated 1945 (and edited by Pete Seeger) and is supposedly the only film of Leadbelly performing.

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One Response to “Leadbelly”

  1. martin goldman Says:

    This is the URL for an interesting article on the applachian dialect


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