Today: The late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888 – 125 years ago

leadbelly

“The blues is like this. You lay down some night and you turn from one side of the bed to the other all night long. It’s not too cold in that bed, and it ain’t too hot. But what’s the matter The blues has got you.”
~Lead Belly

I heard Leadbelly somewhere and that’s what got me into folk music, which was exploding.
~Bob Dylan (Joe Smith interview 1988)

Lead Belly was not an influence, he was the influence. If it wasn’t for him, I may never have been here. I don’t think he’s really dead. A lot of people’s bodies die but I don’t think their spirits die with them.
~Van Morrison

”Sang the blues wonderfully,but he was much bigger than that. He encompassed the whole black era, from square dance calls to the blues of the 30’s and 40’s”
~Alan Lomax

Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter 1998 Folk Alliance International Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient:

The Midnight Special:

From Wikipedia

Birth name Huddie William Ledbetter
Also known as Lead Belly
Born January 1888
Mooringsport,  Louisiana, United States
Died December 6, 1949 (aged 61)
New York, New York, United States
Genres Delta blues, songster, country blues
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, accordion, piano, lap steel guitar
Years active 1936–1949
Website www.leadbelly.org

Huddie William Ledbetter (January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949) was an iconic American folk and blues musician, and multi-instrumentalist, notable for his strong vocals, his virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, and the songbook of folk standards he introduced.

lead_belly

Goodnight, Irene:

He is best known as Lead Belly. Though many releases list him as “Leadbelly“, he spelled it “Lead Belly”. This is also the usage on his tombstone, as well as of the Lead Belly Foundation. In 1994 the Lead Belly Foundation contacted an authority on the history of popular music, Colin Larkin, editor of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, to ask if the name “Leadbelly” could be altered to “Lead Belly” in the hope that other authors would follow suit and use the artist’s correct appellation.

Although Lead Belly most commonly played the twelve-string, he could also play the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, and accordion. In some of his recordings, such as in one of his versions of the folk ballad “John Hardy”, he performs on the accordion instead of the guitar. In other recordings he just sings while clapping his hands or stomping his foot.

John Hardy (Accordion):

The topics of Lead Belly’s music covered a wide range of subjects, including gospel songs; blues songs about women, liquor, prison life, and racism; and folk songs about cowboys, prison, work, sailors, cattle herding, and dancing. He also wrote songs concerning the newsmakers of the day, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Jean Harlow, the Scottsboro Boys, and Howard Hughes.

In 2008, Lead Belly was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

lead belly accordion

Album of the day:

King of the 12-String Guitar (1991)

leadbelly king of the 12-string

Other January 20:

  • Elvis Presley recorded “In The Ghetto” January 20 1969 at American Studios, Memphis.
    elvis presley in the ghetto-
     
  • Jimmy Wilbur Cobb (born January 20, 1929 in Washington, D.C.) is an American jazz drummer.Probably his most famous work is on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (1959), considered by many to be the quintessential jazz record. As of 2012, Cobb is the last surviving player from the session. He also played on other famous Davis albums, including Sketches of SpainSomeday My Prince Will ComeMiles Davis at Carnegie HallIn Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete, and briefly on Porgy and Bess and Sorcerer.
    jimmy cobb

-Egil

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