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Lesley Riddle

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Prof Scratchy:
Today I searched Weenie Campbell for mentions of Lesley Riddle. Over the years there have been fourteen mentions over various topic areas, but no dedicated discussion. Of course heís best known for his association with the Carter Family, and as such, I think his importance as an African American musician has been overlooked. Iíve been listening a lot to his "Step by Step" album recently, and Iíd recommend it to anyone who hasnít yet heard it. Are there any other Lesley Riddle fans here? Do you think he deserves greater recognition in the blues community?

Riddle was a songster who included blues in his repertory. I find musicians of this ilk especially interesting for the insights they provide into the music of their communities. His relationship to A.P. Carter is also very interesting. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a wealth of information about about their interactions but Carter seemed to make out somewhat better than Riddle and Ralph Peer benefited the most from their partnership.

I like Lesley Riddle's music. I recall him doing a nice version of the Titanic, and also a song in E that was very reminiscent of Frank Hutchison's "Miner's Blues"--enough so that it made me wonder if Hutchison got it from him or vice versa. He had a kind of gentle, diffident way of singing.

I've known about him for decades and have been listening to him for decades as well. Mike Seeger interviewed him on several occasions, IIRC, but I don't think the interviews have been transcribed. One has been digitized, but it's not available beyond UNC. Maybe someday...Here's a link:

As you can see, if you have physical access to the UNC holdings, you can listen onsite.

Here is a recent story by Nancy Park who played with Mr. Riddle in 1974 and after:

Interesting to note that he went to Rochester in 1942 a year before Son House and both wee a part of the music scene there.


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