Iluminating the Leadbelly Legend

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Early Blues, Huddie Ledbetter, Miscellaneous, Ross Russell


Author: Ross Russell

Source: Down Beat, August 6, 1970, Vol. 37, No. 15


“Huddie Ledbetter, king of 12-string guitar, was one of the archetypical blues men who sang and played through the southwest during the period between the two wars. A contemporary of Blind Lemon  Jefferson and of the generation before T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly was the most versatile of all singers in the Afro-American tradition and was deep-rooted in its folkways. Besides the country blues, and the urban blues, his bag included many types of folksongs – the field holler, country dances and reels, cowboy songs, talking ‘blues, and ballads. He died in 1949 in New York City. He was one of the big figures.

Following his discovery in 1933 at a prison farm in Angola, La., by John and Alan Lomax, who were field recording men for the Library of Congress, Leadbelly was pardoned, publicized, and presented to awed listeners on a concert tour.”


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