FEATURED ARTIST / S
LeadBelly Vol. 5 – 27th October 1944 to October 1946
Lead Belly, vocal, 12-swtring guitar.
With contributions by Sonny Terry, harmonica; Willie “The Lion” Smith, piano; Brownie McGhee, guitar; George “Pops” Foster, stand-up bass, Woody Guthrie, vocal, guitar; Cisco Houston, vocal guitar.
Genres: Country Blues, Texas Blues, Songster, 12-string Guitar, Americana, Folk.
Informative booklet notes by Ken Romanowski.
The recordings on this CD come from the final years of Lead Belly's career which include a live radio session with children and other contemporary artists such as Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, Cisco Houston, Brownie McGhee, Willie 'The Lion' Smith and George 'Pops' Foster.
When Lead Belly returned from his yearlong stay in California he was a frustrated and disappointed man. He had hoped to break into films whilst he was there, but Hollywood had a hard enough time accepting the likes of Lena Horne and Paul Robeson to begin contending with a two time murderer. The recordings that Lead Belly had made for Capitol had been good from an aesthetic stand point but the mainstream record buying public were some years away from appreciating his roughly hewn musical abilities. The two blues tracks (Sweet Mary and Grasshoppers In My Pillow) that open this CD are from the Capitol session.
Whilst in San Francisco Lead Belly recorded a live radio session for the Standard School Broadcast with children. Lead Belly had an often overlooked affinity with children and demonstrated this with a change of the lyrics to Irene Goodnight, altering the line "...if Irene turns her back on me, I'm gonna take Morphine and die" to "...I'm gonna run away and fly". Throughout the show he explained the differences between the types of songs in his repertoire.
When Lead Belly returned to New York he recorded a further series of titles for Moe Asch. In these sessions he teamed up with Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Willie 'The Lion' Smith, George 'Pops' Foster recording the tracks such as Diggin' My Potatoes, Easy Rider and John Henry. In another session Lead Belly was accompanied by Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston.
Lead Belly had finally found a niche with the urban folk set but remained an underground phenomenon for the few remaining years of his life.