Leadbelly – The Remaining Library of Congress Recordings Vol 2 (1935)
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DOCD-5592 Leadbelly Vol 2 (1935)
Leadbelly, vocal, 12-string guitar.
Texas Country Blues, ballads, dance tunes
Informative booklet notes.
The recordings on this Leadbelly CD were originally made for the Library of Congress in February/March 1935, under the supervision of John and Alan Lomax. The bulk of the session was recorded at Wilton, Connecticut in February 1935, an area with a strong anti-slavery sentiment, Wilton also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
There is a wide selection of songs and genres of music in Leadbelly’s seemingly endless repertoire, which places him as much of a “songster” as a bluesman. Ella Speed is a ballad about a New Orleans good-time girl. There are two versions of Frankie and Albert a ballad which would remain in Leadbelly’s repertoire throughout his career. There are the religious songs Mary Don’t You Weep and Way Over In The Promised Land, the prisoners song Midnight Special, which went on to be a hit for Lonnie Donegan. Highlights of blues numbers Leadbelly recorded in this session are Blind Lemon Blues which is a tribute to the fellow Texan blue musician Blind Lemon Jefferson, with whom he played on the streets of Dallas at the start of his career and Matchbox Blues a track that Blind Lemon recorded for both Paramount and Okeh Records in 1927 (found on Document Records DOCD-5018).
A great many of these recordings were made in field settings on early, primitive portable disc-cutting equipment. This equipment along with various aluminium and acetate discs, though not of the highest quality in so far as sound is concerned, has served to preserve the many brilliant performances of Leadbelly. It is felt that Leadbelly never sounded as well anywhere else as he did when he was recording for the Library. He appears relaxed, strong, crisp and creative.