Tuesday, March 24

Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

"The story of Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter reads like a parody of the brutal bluesman biography: Kill a man, go to prison — twice — then appeal for a pardon in a song. According to the legend, Lead Belly's undeniable talent convinced Texas Governor Pat Neff to let him go. 'The states all kinda got ticked off when that story came out,' says Jeff Place, an archivist with Smithonian Folkways. 'They said no, no — he really got out both times because his time was up.' With a new box set called Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, Place is hoping to set the record straight on that and other aspects of the musician's legacy. He says the musicologist John Lomax really did 'discover' Lead Belly in the infamous Angola prison in Louisiana — but that Lomax also carefully crafted and exploited Lead Belly's image as a dangerous criminal."
NPR: 'That Blew My Mind': Raiding The Lead Belly Vault (Video)
NY Times
YouTube: Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection (Making Of)