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Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century. Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including "Goodnight, Irene," "Rock Island Line," "The Midnight Special," and "Cotton Fields." But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music. Because he was an African-American, he is sometimes viewed as a blues singer, but blues (a musical form he actually predated) was only one of the styles that informed his music. He was a profound influence on folk performers of the 1940s such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who in turn influenced the folk revival and the development of rock music from the 1960s onward, which makes his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, early in the hall's existence, wholly appropriate.

Huddie Ledbetter was born on the Jeter Plantation near the community of Shiloh, which is in turn near the town of Mooringsport, LA. He was the only son of a sharecropper who moved his family to nearby Harrison County, TX, when the child was about five. Ledbetter attended school from the age of eight to about 12 or 13, after which he worked full-time on the farm his father had managed to buy. He had shown an early interest in music, learning the button accordion as a child and playing in the school band. He later added other instruments, eventually turning primarily to the guitar, having obtained his first one in 1903. By his teens, he was playing and singing for money at local dances. At about the age of 16, he moved to Shreveport, LA, where he lived for two years supporting himself as a performer. From the ages of about 18 to 20, he traveled around Texas and Louisiana, performing and supplementing his income as a farm worker. Falling ill, he returned home, where he recovered, married, and settled down to work as a farmer. In 1910, he and his wife moved to Dallas, TX. There, possibly around 1912, he met the young street musician Blind Lemon Jefferson, five years his junior, and the two teamed up to play around the Dallas area for the next several years. During this period, he switched from the six-string to the 12-string guitar, the instrument that became his trademark.

Ledbetter moved back to Harrison County around 1915. In June, he was arrested due to an incident the specifics of which are lost to history. Eventually, he was convicted of carrying a pistol illegally and sentenced to 30 days on a chain gang. He escaped and moved to Bowie County, TX, where he lived under the name Walter Boyd and returned to performing while also working as a sharecropper. In December 1917, he was arrested and charged with the murder of Will Stafford, the husband of one of his cousins, and with "assault to murder" another man. He was convicted of both charges, the first carrying a sentence of five to 20 years, the second two to ten years, to be served consecutively. In prison, he gained his nickname, Lead Belly, and learned many songs from inmates. In January 1924, he sang for Texas Governor Pat Neff, including a specially written song in which he asked for a pardon. As Neff reached the end of his term as governor in January 1925, he actually did pardon Lead Belly, such that, instead of serving the minimum of seven years required by his sentences, he served six years, seven months, and eight days.

Lead Belly moved to Houston initially, then returned home before settling in Mooringsport. In January 1930, he was involved in a stabbing incident that led to his being charged with "assault with intent to murder." He was convicted, given a sentence of six to ten years, and sent to Angola Prison. There he was a model prisoner, and due to budgetary restrictions brought on by the Depression, he was able to participate in an early release program. He applied for such release in June 1933 and was told that he would be released the following year if Governor O.K. Allen approved the petition.

Song collector John Lomax, in the employ of the Library of Congress, visited Angola in July 1933 with his son Alan Lomax, looking for folk songs to record. They were introduced to Lead Belly, whom they recorded. This initial session, which has not been released commercially, included a song Lead Belly called "Irene" that he had learned from an uncle. Subsequent research has demonstrated that the song was not a traditional folk song, but rather in its original form was written and published in 1886 by African-American songwriter Gussie Lord Davis under the title "Irene, Good Night." But the version taught to Lead Belly by his uncle was much altered from Davis' original.

A year passed without any action being taken on Lead Belly's petition for early release. John and Alan Lomax returned to Angola in the summer of 1934, and they recorded another session with Lead Belly. A few of these recordings were released commercially by Elektra Records in 1966 in a box set called The Library of Congress Recordings and were reissued in 1991 by Rounder Records on a CD called Midnight Special. As that title indicates, among the songs was "Midnight Special," a song Lead Belly first heard during his incarceration in Texas in the early 1920s and which he adapted. The session also included "Governor O.K. Allen," a song Lead Belly had written to encourage the governor to sign his petition of release. The Lomaxes took a record of the song to the governor's office, though there is no evidence that he actually listened to it. But on July 25, 1934, he signed Lead Belly's petition, commuting his sentence to three to ten years, and since Lead Belly had already served four and a half years, he was released on August 1, 1934. In later years, the state of Louisiana repeatedly denied the legend that Lead Belly had sung his way out of prison for a second time.

Upon his release, Lead Belly initially moved to Shreveport, but in the fall of 1934 he sought out John Lomax, who was living in Texas, and went to work for him, acting as his chauffeur and assistant on further trips to prisons in search of songs. At the Cummins Prison Farm in Arkansas, Lead Belly first heard a prisoner perform "Rock Island Line," a song he added to his repertoire and altered extensively. In the winter of 1934-1935, he accompanied Lomax north, where they made a series of appearances at academic and scholarly gatherings such as the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association (MLA) in Philadelphia and lecture-performances at Yale and Harvard. They attracted considerable media attention, including articles in major newspapers and appearances on radio and newsreel versions of Time Marches On. Lead Belly signed a management agreement with Lomax and was in turn signed for a series of recordings by the American Record Corporation (ARC), which issued records on a variety of low-priced labels and also owned the venerable Columbia Records label. The ARC recordings, 40 sides, were made in January, February, and March 1935, though ARC only released two singles at the time, with a third issued the following year. Viewing Lead Belly as a blues artist, ARC emphasized that aspect of his large repertoire, but the records did not sell well in the blues market and most of the recordings remained unissued for decades. The first extensive release of them came with the Columbia Records LP Includes Legendary Performances Never Before Released in 1970, and more of them appeared on Columbia/Legacy's King of the 12-String Guitar in 1991. During this period, Lead Belly also made more recordings for the Library of Congress, some of which appeared on the 1966 Elektra LP and on the 1991 Rounder albums Midnight Special and Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In.

In March 1935, John Lomax, who had found Lead Belly unreliable during a northeast tour, severed his relationship with the singer, and Lead Belly returned to Louisiana. There he obtained legal representation and sought more money from Lomax, and over a period of months the two worked out a settlement that allowed Lomax to use Lead Belly's songs in his book Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly, published in 1936. In February 1936, Lead Belly moved back north, settling in New York City and attempting to build a career as a performer. From 1937 to 1939, he made more recordings for the Library of Congress at the behest of Alan Lomax, some of which have appeared on the Elektra and Rounder albums already mentioned. He was taken up by left-wing activists who increasingly used folk music as a forum for the expression of their political beliefs, and though he himself appears to have had only a limited interest in politics in general, his fervor for civil rights, expressed in such songs as "The Bourgeois Blues," concurred with theirs. He became part of a community of urban folk musicians, including Aunt Molly Jackson, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and the team of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, among others.

In March 1939, Lead Belly was arrested for stabbing a man in New York. While on parole before trial, he made his second set of commercial recordings for Musicraft Records, a session arranged by Alan Lomax to help pay his legal bills. The recordings were issued initially on a Musicraft album called Negro Sinful Tunes and have since been reissued by such labels as Stinson, Everest, and Collectables. Lead Belly was convicted of third-degree assault and served an eight-month sentence.

The singer was busy in 1940, appearing on the network radio series Folk Music of America and Back Where I Come From and launching his own weekly 15-minute program on local WNYC, a show that ran for a year. He also undertook his third set of commercial recordings in June, this time for RCA Victor and accompanied on some tracks by the Golden Gate Quartet. These sessions resulted in an album called The Midnight Special and Other Southern Prison Songs, released on RCA's Bluebird imprint. A 1964 compilation of the material on RCA was called Midnight Special, there was a 1989 collection called Alabama Bound, and in 2003, as part of its Secret History of Rock & Roll series, Bluebird issued When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 5: Take This Hammer, a compilation containing all 26 tracks that were recorded. In August 1940, Lead Belly also returned to recording for the Library of Congress, and some of these tracks have turned up on the previously mentioned Elektra set as well as on the Rounder albums Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In and Let It Shine on Me (1991).

In May 1941, Lead Belly recorded his first session for Asch Records, a tiny independent label run by Moses Asch. Lead Belly went on to record extensively for Asch and its successors, Disc and Folkways, this material later reissued both by Smithsonian/Folkways (from the 1990s on) and by various small labels that acquired rights to it. In 1944, he moved to the West Coast, where he remained for the better part of two years. While there, he signed to Capitol Records and did three sessions for the label in October 1944 that resulted in a series of singles. Later, Capitol issued such compilation albums as Classics in Jazz (1953) and Leadbelly: Huddie Ledbetter's Best (1962), drawn from these sessions. Back in New York from 1946 on, Lead Belly continued to record for Folkways, his 1948 recordings later turning up on a series of LPs called Leadbelly's Last Sessions and gathered together into a four-CD box set by Smithsonian/Folkways in 1994.

By 1948, he was beginning to suffer unexplained spells of numbness in his legs, and was often forced to walk with a cane and perform sitting down. In May 1949, he toured in France, but his increasing physical difficulties led to a visit to a doctor who diagnosed him as having contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, an incurable condition leading to paralysis and death. Returning to the U.S., he was able to manage a few more performances, including ones in Texas and Oklahoma in June. (The Texas show was recorded and later released by Playboy Records under the title Leadbelly, erroneously marketed as the singer's last concert.) But he was soon bedridden, and he died at 61 in December.

Lead Belly's fame began to increase almost immediately after his death. In 1950, his song "Irene," now called "Goodnight, Irene," was recorded by the Weavers, a folk group including Pete Seeger and other musicians acquainted with Lead Belly, and became a number one pop hit, with hit covers by such pop singers as Frank Sinatra and a number one country recording by Ernest Tubb and Red Foley. The Weavers then adapted a Lead Belly song called "If It Wasn't for Dickey" (itself based on the Irish folk song "Drimmer's Cow") into "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," which they took into the Top 40 in 1951 and which Jimmie Rodgers covered for a Top Ten hit in 1957. In 1956, the Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group reached the Top Ten in the U.K. and the U.S. with their recording of "Rock Island Line," taken directly from Lead Belly's version, setting off the British skiffle fad that inspired many later British rock stars, including the Beatles. (Johnny Cash scored a Top 40 country hit with his version in 1970.) "The Midnight Special" in Lead Belly's version had first reached the charts for the Tiny Grimes Quintet in 1948. Paul Evans had a Top 40 hit with it in 1960, and Johnny Rivers also took it into the Top 40 in 1965. Lead Belly's "Cotton Fields" (aka "Old Cotton Fields at Home") was a Top 40 hit for the Highwaymen in 1961. All of these songs have become standards. When the folk revival hit in the late '50s, its practitioners frequently covered other songs associated with Lead Belly in arrangements that recalled his.

Lead Belly's own recordings, in addition to the more legitimate reissues on Rounder, Columbia/Legacy, RCA Victor, Capitol, and Smithsonian/Folkways, have turned up on a dizzying number of labels in the digital era, especially as they have come into the public domain in Europe (where copyrights extend only 50 years). Confusing as this discography may be, it is a testament to the continuing influence of Lead Belly on contemporary music. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Disc 1

2. The Bourgeois Blues

4. The Midnight Special

5. John Henry

7. Pick A Bale Of Cotton

8. Take This Hammer

10. Old Riley

11. Rock Island Line

12. The Gallis Pole

13. Ha-Ha This A Way

15. Boll Weevil

20. On A Monday

21. You Can't Lose Me, Cholly

22. Keep Your Hands Off Her

24. Alabama Bound

27. Green Corn

30. Julie Ann Johnson

32. Whoa, Back, Buck

33. Shorty George

34. Ham And Eggs

37. Noted Rider

38. Meeting At The Building

43. Ella Speed

44. Haul Away Joe

45. Old Man

47. Jean Harlow

48. Laura

50. Good Morning Blues

51. Sail On, Little Girl

52. Easy Rider

54. Duncan And Brady

56. T.B. Blues

57. Jim Crow Blues

58. Pigmeat

59. John Hardy

60. Outskirts Of Town

63. Red Cross Store Blues

112. House Of The Rising Sun

114. Diggin' My Potatoes

116. Backwater Blues

118. De Kalb Blues

Disc 4
Disc 5

Track List: Diggin' My Potatoes

1. Packin' Trunk Blues

2. C.C. Rider

4. New Black Snake Moan

5. Alberta

6. Red River Blues

8. Matchbox Blues

11. Whoa Back Buck

12. Rock Island Line

13. In The Evenin' (When The Sun Goes Down)

14. Take This Hammer

15. Goodnight Irene

16. Eagle Rock Rag

17. Grasshoppers In My Pillow

18. Diggin' My Potatoes

19. Corn Bread Rough


Track List: Absolutely The Best Volume 2 - In Concert

1. Goodnight Irene (Live)

2. Ho-Day / Ain't Going Down To The Well No More (Live)

3. Rock Island Line (Live)

4. Go Down Old Hannah (Live)

5. Shine On Me (Live)

6. What Can I Do To Change Your Mind (Live)

7. Skip To My Lou (Live)

8. Mary And Martha (Live)

9. C'est Bon, Les Oeufs (Scrambled Egg Song) (Live)

10. Whoa Back Buck (Live)

11. John Henry (Live)

12. Backwater Blues (Live)

13. Ella Lousie (Live)

14. Don't Want No More Of Army Life (Live)

15. Relax Your Mind (Live)

16. Goodnight Irene (Live)

17. Old Ship Of Zion (Live)

18. I Will Be So Glad When I Get Home (Live)


Track List: Absolutely The Best

1. In New Orleans (House Of The Rising Sun)

2. The Bourgeois Blues

3. Goodnight, Irene

4. Looky, Looky Yonder / Black Betty / Yellow Women's Doorbells

5. Borrow Love And Go

6. De Kalb Blues

7. John Hardy

8. How Long

9. Roberta

10. Pretty Flower In Your Backyard

11. The Gallis Pole

12. Where Did You Sleep Last Night

13. Midnight Special

14. John Hardy (Version 2)

15. When I Was A Cowboy


Track List: The Best Of Leadbelly

1. The Bourgeois Blues

3. Poor Howard / Green Corn

5. Noted Rider

6. Big Fat Woman

8. Bring Me Li'l Water Silvy

9. Julie Ann Johnson

10. Line 'Em

12. John Hardy

13. In New Orleans

14. Goodnight Irene

15. Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

16. How Long

17. Yellow Gal

18. On A Monday

19. Blue Tail Fly


Track List: Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 1

1. Irene

2. Pick A Bale Of Cotton

3. Good Morning Blues

4. Grey Goose

6. Take This Hammer

7. On A Monday

11. Laura

12. Duncan And Brady

13. Rock Island Line

14. Big Fat Woman

17. You Can't Lose Me Cholly

19. Ha Ha This A Way

20. Yellow Gal

21. Green Corn

23. Meeting At The Building

25. Pigmeat

26. Blind Lemon

29. Old Riley

31. No Good Rider

32. Shorty George

34. Leaving Blues


Track List: Bourgeois Blues: Golden Classics Part One

1. The Bourgeois Blues

3. Poor Howard/Green Corn

4. The Gallis Pole

6. Noted Rider

7. Big Fat Woman

9. Bring Me Li'l Water Silvy

10. Julie Ann Johnson

11. Line 'em

13. John Hardy


Track List: The Library Of Congress Recordings, Vol.4: The Titanic

1. Blind Lemon Blues

2. Mister Tom Hughes' Town

3. Shreveport Jail

4. Don't You Love Me No More

5. Henry Ford Blues

6. Julie Ann Johnson

7. Angola Blues (So Doggone Soon)

8. Dallas & Fort Worth Blues

9. Mary Don't You Weep

10. Easy Mr. Tom

11. I Ain't Bothered A Bit

12. Boll Weevil

13. The Titanic

14. Red Cross Sto'

15. Fo' Day Worry Blues

16. Hesitation Blues

17. Take Me Back

18. Tight Like That

19. Sail On Little Girl


Track List: Gwine Dig A Hole To Put The Devil In

1. C.C.Rider

2. Governer Pat Neff

3. Becky Dean

4. Medicine Man

5. Alberta

6. Old Rattler

7. If It Wasn't For Dicky

8. Queen Mary

9. Turn Yo' Radio On

10. Mama, Did You Bring Me Any Silver?

11. The Bourgeois Blues

12. Po' Howard

13. Dance Calls (Incudes One Dollar Bill, Baby)

14. Gwine Dig A Hole To Put The Devil In

15. Green Corn


Track List: Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs With Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, And Sonny Terry

1. There's A Man Going Around Taking Names

2. Stewball

3. Keep Your Hands Off Her

4. Good-Good-Good (Talking, Preaching) We Shall Walk Through Thevalley

5. Lining Track

6. Outskirts Of Town

7. `

8. The Blood Done Sign My Name (Ain't You Gald)

9. On A Monday

10. Jean Harlow

11. Corn Bread Rough

12. National Defense Blues

13. Little Children's Blues

14. Fiddler's Dram

15. Meeting At The Building


Track List: Blues For You

1. We Shall Be Free

2. Keep Your Hands Off Her

3. Jim Crow Blues

5. Bourgeois Blues

6. The Eagle Rocks

7. Jean Harlow

8. Eagle Rock Rag

9. Mr. Hitler

10. Line 'em

12. Tell Me Baby

14. Army Life

15. The Blood Done Sign My Name (Ain't You Glad)

16. Ella Speed

17. There's A Man Going Round Taking Names

18. Juliana Johnson

19. On A Christmas Day

20. Western Plain

21. Backwater Blues


Track List: Bourgeois Blues

1. Fannin Street

2. Bourgeois Blues

3. Easy Rider

4. Alabama Bound

5. Don't You Love Your Daddy No More?

6. Gallis Pole

7. Leavin' Blues

8. Midnight Special

9. T.B. Blues

10. Linin' Track

11. Julie Ann Johnson

12. John Henry

13. Jim Crow Blues

14. Jim Crow #2

15. Good Morning Blues #2

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Army Life

18. Hitler Song

19. Careless Love

20. Haul Away Joe

21. Don't Mind The Weather

22. Skip To My Lou

23. Red Bird

24. Out On The Western Plains

25. Cowboy Song

26. You Can't Mistreat Me

27. Diggin' My Potatoes

28. John Hardy


Track List: Defense Blues

1. Sweet Mary Blues

2. Grasshoppers In My Pillow

3. When A Man's A Long Way From Home

4. By And By When The Morning Comes

6. Swing Low Sweet Chariot

7. Julie Ann Johnson

8. Christmas Is Coming

9. We're In The Same Boat Brother

10. Diggin' My Potatoes

11. Defense Blues

12. Pigmeat

13. Green Corn


Track List: Lead Belly's Last Sessions

Disc 1

7. Leaving Blues

9. Blue Tail Fly

21. Rock Island Line

23. Shorty George

Disc 2

3. John Henry

5. National Defense Blues

13. The Grey Goose

Disc 3

1. Midnight Special

4. Easy Rider

8. Old Riley

9. Julie Ann Johnson

15. Irene

Disc 4

4. Rock Island Line

5. Backwater Blues

7. Irene

11. House Of The Rising Sun

14. Fannin Street

20. Yellow Gal

22. We're In The Same Boat Brother

23. Leaving Blues


Track List: Masterworks

1. Midnight Special

2. Gallis Pole

3. Dekalb Blues

4. John Hardy

5. Goodnight Irene

6. Bourgeois Blues

7. Pretty Flower In Your Backyard

8. Borrow Love & Go

9. Big Fat Woman

10. Julie Ann Johnson

11. Be So Glad When I Get Home

12. Old Ship Zion

13. I Don't Want No More Army Life

14. Ella Louise

15. Backwater Blues

16. Rock Island Line

17. Mary And Martha

18. Go Down Old Hannah


Track List: Midnight Special

1. Frankie And Albert (Completion)

2. Poor Howard/Green Corn

4. The Bourgeois Blues

5. Frankie And Albert (First Half)

6. The Boll Weevil

7. Pick A Bale Of Cotton

8. The Gallis Pole

9. Fannin Street

10. Roberta

12. De Kalb Blues

13. Alabama Bound

14. Good Morning Blues

15. I'm On My Last Go Round

16. Red Cross Store Blues

17. T.B. Blues

18. Midnight Special

19. Sail On, Little Girl, Sail On

20. Leaving Blues

21. Alberta


Track List: New Orleans

2. Meeting At The Building / Talking Preaching/ We Shall Walk Through The Valley

4. Where Did You Sleep Last Night

5. Cow Cow Yicky Yea/ Out On The Western Plains

7. Bill Brady

8. Yellow Gal

9. Pretty Flowers In Your Backyard

10. Bring Me Lil Water Silvy / Julia Ann Johnson / Line 'em / Whoa Back Buck

11. John Hardy

12. Red River/ Black Girl (In The Pines) / Don't Miss Your Water Blues

14. In New Orleans

15. John Hardy

16. How Do You Know? / Don't Mind The Weather

17. Mother's Blues (Little Children Blues)

20. Outskirts Of Town

21. Don't Lie Buddy

22. Skip To My Lou/ Christmas Day (It's Almost Day)

24. Blind Lemon (Memorial Record)

25. Leadbelly's Dance


Track List: Shout On: Lead Belly Legacy Vol. 3

1. Shout On

2. Little Children's Blues

3. Governor Pat Neff

4. Ain't Going Down To The Well No More

5. Go Down Old Hannah

6. Come And Sit Down Beside Me

7. How Long, How Long

8. Old Man

9. John Henry

10. Jean Harlow

11. Birmingham Jail

12. Don't Sleep Too Long

13. It Was Early One Morning

14. Uncle Sam Says

15. If You Want To Do Your Part

16. National Defense Blues

17. Whoa Back Buck

18. Ham And Eggs

19. Midnight Special

20. Grey Goose

21. Yellow Gal

22. Green Corn

23. The Parting Song

24. Rooster Crows At Midnight

25. Skip To My Lou

26. More Yet - Little Boy How Old Are You - Green Grass Growing All Around

27. What Are Little Boys Made Of - Polly Wee

28. Ha Ha This A-Way

29. You Can't Lose Me, Cholly

30. It Was Soon One Morning

31. Take This Hammer

32. Pick A Bale Of Cotton


Track List: Take This Hammer

1. Pick A Bale Of Cotton

2. Alabama Bound

3. Yellow Gal

4. Midnight Special

5. Rock Island Line

6. Whoa Back, Buck

7. Good Morning Blues

9. TB Blues

10. Red Cross Store Blues

11. Sail On Little Girl, Sail On

12. Roberta

13. Alberta

14. I'm On My Last Go Round

15. Grey Goose

18. Take This Hammer

19. Can't You Line 'em

21. Ham An' Eggs

22. Easy Rider

23. New York City

24. Worried Blues

25. Don't You Love Your Daddy No More

26. You Can't Lose-A-Me Cholly


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bobo you r lol correct
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Hillary would have called him a super predator
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Definitely a blues legend...
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Cotton-eyed Joe
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His distinctive voice, twelve-strin g fingering, and the rhythms with which he propelled his songs are unique and unsurpassed and always a joy to listen to.
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Real music, with heart and soul.
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we're pregnant
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dont try to put the blues into a box its just a feeling
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Where did he come from where did he go where did he come from cottoneye joe
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Lead belly...grea t e s t of great blues man...I can see from his prison record that yes, in positive, a blues gangsta....a g a i n s t the frame work...
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Them colored folks is genetically best equipped to sing the black man's blues.
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I feel proud to say that almost every blues artists come from the US. Now I have a good comeback for the British people who say," The Beatles are from the UK."
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Cowboy gangsta? That is one of the lamest things I've sever seen.
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Are you serious? Why is this song on the Velvet Underground radio channel? This song is not what I want to hear. Life is depressing enough on its own.
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Leadbelly was a cowboy gangsta.. the BIGGIE of blues
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A god amongst men.
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I would'nt have him butterin' my bread! He takes me to my previous lives as a black individual though.This kind of music speaks to my soul,my black soul. :)
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early influence on rock and roll
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That's not psycho, that's life!
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Great music - apparently a bit of a psycho.
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sorry there are no similar artists
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Wow! Talk about keeping it real........
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A founding father of all the music, and musicians, that followed in his footsteps
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Leadbelly is one of the greatest artists to have ever graced music.
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Interesting. Very talented man. Love his music...even if he did have a few problems. Funny. In a twisted sort of way.
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the best there ever was.
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What a violent murderous POS.
Pandora for got johnny Cash's version of Rock Island Line.
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Oringinal Gangster.
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It's a 1947 Allard LCC!
What a "footprint" HL left for us. TKS OM
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I love this Man. The first and baddest African-Amer i c a n star. This dude would kick the crap out of Biggy, 2-pac, and fitty-cent at the same time. A REAL INNOVATOR. GOD BLESS HUDDY LEDBETTER.
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Im pretty sure Leadbelly would stab Ted Nugent.
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I see guys like this and it honestly pains me that they're dead. But hey, at least we've still got... uh... Ted Nugent?
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This is REAL history we so much ignore. Were songs with a hidden/openl y social message in an era of racial violence and unjustice.
Sefardisafra n
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daddyof74eve r
loved this guy since I first heard him in 1962
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Yeah he is a great american icon alright. Murder, assualt, and music
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The definitive American Music Icon.
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What a story! Leadbelly has always been a legend in the annals of folkmusic.
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The article helps me understand the British connection to blues. Thanks
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I suspect he couldn't fight, resorted to stabbin' folks. Criminal
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Stop stabbing people!
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So you sing and stab your way into the Library of Congress? Almost seems made up. Totally one-uped OJ.
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LEADBELLY, good mornin chillden I'm Huddie Leadbetter, Leadbelly is so f-n cool, I got an old vinyl of him called Negro Folk Songs for Young People, That's how he greats the children in the clasroom.
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All together he stabbed 147 people, way more than OJ ever dreamed of.
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This dude is rockin! "louder" " louder" "dobedominum n u m "
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Love this. I can hear colors!!
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Hardship breeds good blues!
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hippy blues jammin' in west by-god virginia
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