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Leadbelly - Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs (1962/1990)

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Leadbelly - Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs (1962/1990)

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1 	There's A Man Going Around Taking Names 	1:25
2 	Stewball 	2:24
3 	Keep Your Hands Off Her 	2:50
4 	Good-Good-Good (Talking, Preaching) / We Shall Walk Thru The Valley 	2:08
5 	Lining Track 	1:10
6 	Outskirts Of Town 	2:35
7 	We Shall Be Free 	2:33
8 	The Blood Done Sign My Name (Ain't You Glad) 	2:20
9 	On A Monday 	1:47
10 	Jean Harlow 	1:35
11 	Corn Bread Rough 	2:05
12 	National Defense Blues 	3:00
13 	Little Children's Blues 	2:25
14 	Fiddler's Dram 	2:27
15 	Meeting At The Building 	0:59

Huddie Ledbetter - guitar, vocals
+
Cisco Houston - mandolin (tracks: 2,6,7,14)
Sonny Terry - harmonica (tracks: 6,9)
Woody Guthrie - guitar (tracks: 2,6,7,14)

 

This is a precious collection of songs from the larger than life Leadbelly; what makes this sagely compiled album so interesting is that it includes both solo performed songs and others accompanied by changing combinations of the younger that looked up at him with respect and admiration, Woody Guthrie, Cisco Huston and Sonny Terry.

A troubadour and story-teller he has been recognized as one of those who could voice the Depression-era poor Folks concerns and struggles, as Woody, who hanged around a lot with him, reverencing confirms on the sleeve notes; but what made him stand-up among the rest, and not even taking into account his imposing vocal power, startling 12-string guitar technique and multi-instrumentalist abilities, was that contrary to others he had an unusual capacity to embrace many genres.

This album documents it: solitarily launching a passionately sung mean Blues, atop a killer walking riff on “National Defense Blues” or sprinkling it with single-note fill-ins and bends as his foot stomping sets the beat on “Little Children’s Blues”, on a call & response routine with Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie , backed by mandolin and guitar on the flaming “Stewball” or with the pair plus Sonny Terry’s harmonica on the Folk-Blues tinged Gospel of “We Shall Be Free”, alone with his 12-strings on the intense Gospel of “There’s a Man…” or with Terry’s harp ornamenting the Country-Blues of “On a Monday”, talking and preaching on “Good, good, good” before picking the guitar and prophetically strum “We Shall Walk thru the Valley”, a-cappella grunting and vocalizing “Lining Track”, with concertina accompaniment in the quasi-Jig “Corn Bread Rough”, or strumming along, sing-a-long tailored hymns like “Meeting at the Building” and on several other moods and styles, it seems to me this is a very accurate portrait of Leadbelly’s enormous talent. ---comusduke, rateyourmusic.com

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