FEATURED ARTIST / S
Leadbelly 1939 – 1947 Volume 6; 1947 (Commercial recordings)
Lead Belly, twelve-string guitar, concertina, piano
Blues, ballads, work songs, spirituals.
Informative booklet note by Ken Romaowski
It is indeed fortunate that an undiscovered session of Leadbelly's songs such as this has surfaced fifty years after it's recording.
In a lot of ways 1947 was a crucial year for Lead Belly. After his disappointing attempts to break into the film industry, he returned to New York to re-enter the circle of politically active performers who rightly revered Lead Belly as something of an elder statesman. In New York he headlined some prestigious concerts, had a regular slot at the Village Vanguard and continued to record for Moe Asch.
Two blocks of these recordings for Asch made in the summer of 1947 make up the bulk of this CD. Almost two thirds of the total number of titles are re-recordings of tracks previously released by Asch. Some of the remaining titles are remakes of unissued masters recorded by Asch, whilst some are new versions previously released by Victor, Bluebird and Musicraft. A handful of songs are new to Lead Belly's recorded catalogue, such as two energetic and charming numbers on which he accompanies himself on the concertina or “win-jammer” as he referred to it: Laura and Sukey Jump.
The last batch of songs on this CD are not listed in any of the discographies and may have been recorded by one of the smaller, independent New York record labels. These include a new version of Black Betty, Old Man and On A Monday. A good number of the tracks from this session were not released by anyone in 1947, even though versions were recorded by the Library of Congress, Asch and others.