Lead Belly

~ Person

Legal name: Huddie William Ledbetter

Wikipedia

Huddie William Ledbetter (January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949) was an American folk and blues musician and multi-instrumentalist, notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, and the songbook of folk standards he introduced.

He is best known as Lead Belly. Though many releases list him as "Leadbelly", he spelled it "Lead Belly". This is also the usage on his tombstone, as well as of the Lead Belly Foundation. In 1994 the Lead Belly Foundation contacted an authority on the history of popular music, Colin Larkin, editor of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, to ask if the name "Leadbelly" could be altered to "Lead Belly" in the hope that other authors would follow suit and use the artist's correct appellation.

Although Lead Belly most commonly played the twelve-string, he could also play the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, and accordion. In some of his recordings, such as in one of his versions of the folk ballad "John Hardy", he performs on the accordion instead of the guitar. In other recordings he just sings while clapping his hands or stomping his foot.

The topics of Lead Belly's music covered a wide range of subjects, including gospel, blues about women, liquor, prison life, and racism; and folk songs about cowboys, prison, work, sailors, cattle herding, and dancing. He also wrote songs concerning the newsmakers of the day, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Jean Harlow, the Scottsboro Boys, and Howard Hughes.

In 1988 Lead Belly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "Early Influence" category. In 2008, he was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

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Discography

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Album + Compilation

Year Title Rating Releases
1953 Rock Island Line: Huddie Ledbetter Memorial Album, Volume 2 Compilation 1
1986 "The Leadbelly Collection" - 20 Blues Greats Compilation 1
1989 Huddie Ledbetter's Best Compilation 2
1989 The Leadbelly Story Compilation 1
1990 Leadbelly Compilation 1
1990 Alabama Bound Compilation 2
1990 Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs Compilation 1
1991 King of the 12-String Guitar Compilation 1
1991 Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In: The Library of Congress Recordings, Volume 2 Compilation 1
1991 Let It Shine On Me: Library of Congress Recordings, Volume 3 Compilation 1
1991 Midnight Special: The Library Of Congress Recordings, Volume One Compilation 1
1992 The House of the Rising Sun Compilation 1
1993 Irene Goodnight Compilation 1
1993 The Very Best of Leadbelly Compilation 1
1993 Goodnight Irene Compilation 1
1994 Storyteller Blues Compilation 1
1994 Go Down Old Hannah: The Library of Congress Recordings, Volume 6 Compilation 1
1994 Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen: The Library of Congress Recordings, Volume 5 Compilation 1
1994 The Titanic: Library of Congress Recordings, Volume 4 Compilation 2
1994 Bourgeois Blues: Golden Classics, Part One Compilation 1
1994 Lead Belly's Last Sessions Compilation 1
1994 Good Morning Blues: The Essential Recordings of Leadbelly Compilation 1
1994 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 3, October 1943 to 25 April 1944 Compilation 1
1994 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 4, May to October 1944 Compilation 1
1994 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 5, 27 October 1944 to October 1946 Compilation 1
1994 Nothing but the Blues: Death Letter Blues Compilation 1
1995 Leadbelly Memorial, Volumes 1 & 2 Compilation 1
1995 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 1, 1 April 1939 to 15 June 1940 Compilation 1
1995 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 2, 17: June 1940 to Mid '43 Compilation 1
1995 The Legendary Masters Series Compilation 1
1996 Goodnight Irene Compilation 1
1996 Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Lead Belly Legacy, Volume 1 Compilation 1
1996 Easy Rider Compilation 1
1996 In the Shadow of the Gallows Pole Compilation 1
1997 Bourgeois Blues: Lead Belly Legacy, Volume 2 Compilation 2
1997 Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order: Volume 6, 1947 Compilation 1
1998 Shout On: Lead Belly Legacy, Volume 3 Compilation 1
1998 Midnight Special Compilation 1
1999 Bridging Lead Belly Compilation 1
1999 Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 7, 1947-1949 Compilation 1
1999 Leadbelly Sings for Children Compilation 1
2000 Absolutely the Best Compilation 1
2001 The Essential Leadbelly Compilation 1
2002 The Tradition Masters Compilation 1
2002 Complete Blues: The Definitive Leadbelly Compilation 1
2003 The Best of Leadbelly Compilation 1
2003 When the Sun Goes Down, Volume 5: Take This Hammer Compilation 1
2003 Easy Rider Blues Compilation 1
2004 Blues & Folk Singer: Sagablues, Volume 1 Compilation 1
2004 Black Betty Compilation 1

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