Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly.
A voice, a guitar
Subtitle: “King of the Twelve-String Guitar Players of the World, Long-Time Convict in the Penitentiaries of Texas and Louisiana.” The oral autobiography of Huddie Ledbetter (1885–1949), i.e., Lead Belly, of Cherokee ancestry, who became famous for voice and guitar. Ledbetter was convicted of murder and assault and escaped prison various times, and, caught, went back to prison various times, often serving hard labor on chain gangs, but then getting reprieves because of his artistic ability:
A plea for mercy to Gov. O. K. Allen of Louisiana and a recording by John and Alan Lomax of his song Irene, “Good Night,” won him a reprieve on Aug. 7, 1934. He joined Alan Lomax, who was recording folk songs in southern prisons, and sang to encourage the inmates to record for Lomax. At night he played his guitar and sang in local bars. After traveling some 6000 miles, Lomax and Ledbetter went to New York City, where Ledbetter, introduced as the “bad nigger,” won the acclaim of many, including the kind of whites whose outlook would later be called “radical chic.” [DANB]
An influential figure in both blues and folk music circles.
Description: Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly.
New York: The Macmillan Company, (1936). Frontispiece, 242pp. First Edition. Small Quarto. Publisher’s cloth. A spectacular and fine copy in a pictorial dust jacket with chips, stains, general wear.