Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Noah is a music lover like his dad, do I have been introducing him to some old songs. My Grandma (Ma) would sing "Cotton Fields" to me when I was a kid and I loved it. I no longer remembered the words so before teaching it to Noah I YouTubed it and opened a treasure chest of old folk music and was introduced to a unique personality.

Leadbelly whose given name was Huddie William Ledbetter was born on a plantation in Lousiana and moved to Texas at an early age. As he got older he was in and out of trouble and spent time in and out of prison for murder and attempted murder. He was typically paroled after serving the sentence minimums of seven years. He was once released after writing a song that appealed to the religious feelings of the state's governor, that coupled with his appeal to the guards and prison officials who enjoyed his entertainment behind the wire.

What I like about his music is that it has a clean, but unrefined sound that mixes his musical ability with things that he has witnessed. Sometimes the lyrics can sound a bit forced in order to catch up with the rhythm, but it adds to Leadbelly's folk appeal.

Some songs that you have heard like "House of the Rising Sun", "Midnight Special" "Cee Cee Rider" were originally performed or recorded by Leadbelly. Though he is not the best role model he was a truly gifted musician.

Here are a few links: