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Shout On: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 3

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Album Review

Although the original Leadbelly LP bearing this name (Folkways 31030) was drawn from October 1948 sessions, the CD reissue adds 17 tracks, some recorded as early as 1941, and so should be now considered an anthology of 1940s work. This does not rate among the best Leadbelly collections: due to illness, his guitar skills had diminished by the 1948 sessions that comprise much of the disc, and there are better versions of some of the songs elsewhere. It's still plenty worthwhile, though, particularly when Leadbelly is boosted by Sonny Terry's vocal and harmonica on several numbers, including Leroy Carr's blues "How Long, How Long." The CD is divided into thematic sections that, other than the '48 recordings, feature three patriotic tunes about U.S. efforts in World War II; five numbers recorded with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston in 1946, including the perennial favorite "Midnight Special"; and seven children-oriented selections.

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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