November 30 street date. Remastered For Vinyl At Infrasonic Mastering. First Time Being Pressed To Vinyl. Live, Double LP With Redesigned Album Art. Pressed to vinyl for the fi rst time, this live, double LP, filled with a set of players from all over the jazz, folk, and blues genres, is a great listen for any collector. Featuring arists like Omer Simeon, Jimmy Archey, Ralph Sutton, Freddie Moore, and many more, this Bunk Johnson and Leadbelly collaborative album is defi nitely one for the books.
January 11 street date. Huddie William Ledbetter, better known to the world as Leadbelly, was one of the most celebrated guitarists and vocalists of 20th century American music. He introduced the world to many traditional folk and gospel songs and his versions remain some of the most well known and beautiful ever cut to tape. Born on a plantation in Louisiana in 1888, Leadbelly got his start as a teenager performing in the red-light district of Shreveport. "Discovered" by the legendary folklorists John and Alan Lomax while Leadbelly was serving time in Angola state prison for attempted murder. They recorded him while in prison and in 1934, at the age of 46, made these recordings, the first commercial recordings of his career. Featuring a wide repertoire of folk and blues songs along with his powerful voice and unique guitar style, these tracks are absolute cornerstones of American folk and blues music and some of the greatest tracks he ever cut.
February 1 street date (date change). This collection of songs by Lead Belly was assembled by Folkways founder Moses Asch from recordings made in the early to mid-1940s, and it focuses primarily on Lead Belly’s observations on the hate and racism that permeated America and the world during this turbulent period of history. Songs like “Jim Crow” and “Bourgeois Blues” reflect his anger at the discrimination he and others experienced as African Americans, while “Hitler” was his condemnation of Hitler and anti-Semitism. Remastered from original LP Master Tapes in 1953 in Classic Folkways style tip-on jackets featuring original liner notes.
Nov. 18 street date. 50 tracks from the blues/folk legend - "Rock Island Line", "Midnight Special", "Goodnight Irene", "The Gallis Pole", "Cotton Fields", "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" - all those classics and plenty more are right here.
November 2 street date. Leadbelly’s enormous rural-blues repertoire and thrilling twelve-string guitar playing led the US folk revival and has influenced a huge range of artists from the Beach Boys to Led Zeppelin. His convict past gave an air of unpredictable danger to his live performances but it is his unparalleled treasury of songs and intense singing style that remains undimmed. Bonus CD: F"olk & Blues Legends". With his unrivalled repertoire of blues, ballads and minstrel tunes, Leadbelly defined the black American folk tradition - and his influence was ubiquitous on his fellow performers. Many of those heard here played with him, including Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Others were merely influenced by his treasury of songs and the intensity of his style. And it is his influence that has continued to reverberate down several generations.
December 10 street date. Leadbelly's last recording sessions for a commercial record label, held in the early fall of 1944, yielded a dazzling 12 songs, embracing virtuoso guitar blues ("Grasshoppers In My Pillow"), pounding piano-driven scatting ("The Eagle Rocks", with Leadbelly himself at the ivories, a talent for which he wasn't usually recognized), and familiar standards done in some startlingly different ways, including "Goodnight, Irene", "Rock Island Line", and "Ella Speed", done with the understated accompaniment of a zither (courtesy of Paul Mason Howard) as well as his own guitar. Leadbelly was in excellent voice and top form on guitar and piano &emdash; having gone to California to test the commercial waters, he met Tex Ritter, an old friend, who arranged for Leadbelly to come to his house and, with Merle Travis playing as well and Capitol executive Lee Gillette present, auditioned then and there for the label; he was energized by the experience, and Capitol's recording caught the brightest as well as the deepest tones in his playing, thus making this record one of the very best showcases for acoustic 12-string guitar of the period. Sadly, only a handful of these tracks were issued during the man's own lifetime, thus convincing him that they were another career dead end &emdash; in 1956 (and again in 1962) they emerged with an impassioned annotation by Dave Dexter Jr., imploring people to buy these last commercial sides by one of the most celebrated bluesmen of the century.
February 24 street date. 5 hours of music, historic photos, extensive notes, & 140-page book. 5 Discs, 108 tracks (16 unreleased). Lead Belly is "the hard name of a harder man," said Woody Guthrie of his friend and fellow American music icon who was born Huddie Ledbetter (c. 1888-1949). From the swamplands of Louisiana, the prisons of Texas, and the streets of New York City, Lead Belly and his music became cornerstones of American folk music and touchstones of African American cultural legacy. With his 12-string Stella guitar, he sang out a cornucopia of songs that included his classics 'The Midnight Special', 'Irene', 'Bourgeois Blues', and many more, which in turn have been covered by musical notables such as the Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison, Nirvana, Odetta, Little Richard, Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection brings us the story of the man as well as the musician.
July 8 street date. Leadbelly’s "Huddie Ledbetter’s Best' is a double LP with the albums 'His Guitar - His Voice - His Piano' and "Sings Folk Songs", both originally released in 1962, accomplished with a few bonus tracks. "His Guitar - His Voice - His Piano" was Leadbelly’s last recording sessions for a commercial record label, held in the early fall of 1944, yielded a dazzling 12 songs, embracing virtuoso guitar blues "Grasshoppers in My Pillow", pounding piano-driven scatting "The Eagle Rocks," with Leadbelly himself at the ivories, a talent for which he wasn’t usually recognized, and familiar standards done in some startlingly different ways, including "Goodnight, Irene," "Rock Island Line," and "Ella Speed," done with the understated accompaniment of a zither (courtesy of Paul Mason Howard) as well as his own guitar. "Sings Folk Songs" are ‘40s Folkways recordings with Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, and Sonny Terry. Leadbelly was in excellent voice and top form on guitar and piano.
June 16 street date. Louisiana delta native Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter is the master of twelve-string blues guitar. His story is one of high-highs and low-lows, from serving stints in prison after killing a man in a fight for a woman’s heart, but then eventually earning early release by entertaining his fellow prison-mates and penning a song for the governor, thus cementing his reputation of singing his way out of prison. Folklorists John and Alan Lomax were early supporters that brought Lead Belly to the attention of Ivy Leaguers as well as a European audience. His songs have been widely covered by artists such as Elvis, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, and the Grateful Dead. Single LP with single pocket tip-on jacket with soft touch finish.
December 22 street date. "Iconic early recordings superbly remastered with first vinyl release. Leadbelly remains an American musical icon. His style was both hardcore Country Blues and Songster/Folk tradition. This gives him that rare thing-a genre busting appeal even so many years after his death, with a wider public knowledgeable and interested in his life and music. This classic early material is both musically stunning and historically important-a rare combination."
March 16 street date. One of the most influential artists from the southern parts of the United States is undoubtedly Leadbelly. Gifted with the ability to write thought provoking lyrics, he became a true master of the folk and blues scene. More than just a musician, Leadbelly was a force of nature. And one of his songs sparked a revolution when Lonnie Donegan’s 1956 hit Rock Island Line inspired not just The Beatles, but pretty well every fledgling Brit rock & roller with a new type of music called skiffle.
September 7 street date. Lead Belly was a towering presence in 20th century popular music, bestriding many musical styles and genres. Sometimes simply regarded as a Bluesman, his music in fact transcended all racial and musical boundaries, and his vast repertoire of songs encompassed songs from the American Folk tradition, Blues, Gospel, Chain Gang songs, Spirituals, Children's Songs, and Protest songs. His greatest recordings are all included here.
EXCL. - Two of the greatest legends of all time on one CD, performing the best examples of country blues. Leadbelly set standards for playing before the blues era even began. Blind Willie McTell was one of the finest guitarists and singers in the history of down South blues.