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Masters of the Country Blues

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Album Review

This representative pair of folk-blues talent spread over two discs crystallizes succinctly the early direction of the blues tradition. Leadbelly, aka Huddie Ledbetter, and Blind Willie McTell were recorded in 1935 and 1940, respectively. Each performer represents a primitive, folk-blues form with a semi-narrative, almost storytelling delivery on top of a bright melody. As principle sources on these vintage, historical recordings Leadbelly and McTell exude the blues that spawned numerous, lesser imitators. While not as well known as Leadbelly, McTell had the more prolific commercial career. His music comes across as the most diverse, from his instrumental rendition of "Amazing Grace" to the lively "Kill-It-Kid Rag." Each disc in the Masters of the Country Blues series comes with descriptive and historical liner notes.

Biography

Born: 20 January 1888 in Mooringsport, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s

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...
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