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I've been poor and I've been rich, and rich is better - Bessie Smith

Author Topic: Leadbelly  (Read 16275 times)

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Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2004, 05:36:04 AM »
Welcome to the board Harry!

Offline outfidel

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2004, 06:18:54 AM »
Favorite Leadbelly compilation: Library of Congress recordings on Rounder

Favorite Leadbell photograph: this one, from the Library of Congress collection:

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Offline yayayas

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2004, 07:35:02 AM »
HarryL
I haven't come across this folkways leadbelly song book. I have had a copy of Oak publications "12 string guitar as played by leadbelly" since my teens in the 60s It does have Shorty George. Does that make you either Jerry Silverman or Julius Lester. I got a 12 string guitar when I was 15 and at the same time came across a Leadbelly album. In my early 20's I spent some time sick sometimes confined to bed so I used the time to realy study Huddie's guitar technique mainly from the Library of congress recordings on Electra. I haveout his technique of working the strings with the thumb and finger pick  and utilising the elasticity of the strings to creat the rhythmic drive and control the length of the notes. You can do amazing things with this that I don't hear anyone else doing on guitar. I also sing with a strong bluesy voice.
I have made music my career as a performer and piano teacher/ session musician in Sydney Australia. I mainly sing and play blues piano. I do a  percentage of pre-war blues along with later blues styles, soul, country and gospel, and featuring New Orleans sounds  of Fats Domino. Prof Longhair , Smiley Lewisetc. I noticed a few years back that the majority of songs I do come from Louisianna and I think results thats from getting into singingand playing like leadbelly at an early age.
I think this website is amazing. It has so much of the music and blues personalities that I love. I leave the stream on through my soundsytem a lot of the time. I'm in heaven.  I have only just discovered this stream through my Audion application that accesses 5,000 streams at a time via shoutcast. I look forward to chatting with other likeminded blues lovers and players.
yayayas.

Offline Slack

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2004, 08:17:40 AM »
Welcome to the Forum Yayayas.... glad you found us!

Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2004, 08:18:41 AM »
Welcome to the board, yayayas - I think that's Harry Lewman, author of a book of Lead Belly songs/tablature called No Stranger to the Blues. ?Not sure it's still in print, but I did find a couple of used copies listed on Amazon. ?Maybe Harry still has a couple copies?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 04:41:46 AM by Johnm »

HarryL

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2004, 07:28:23 PM »
Hi yayayas,

Sorry for the delay in responding. 

I too, learned a lot from the Pete Seeger book, published by Oak back in the 1960's.  The songbook that I did was recently published by TRO/Folkways Music Publishers.  I did the transcriptions for the book, and helped do its layout.  TRO is Lead Belly's music publisher.

The transcriptions are in tablature and standard notation.  You might find it fun to play piano using the note for note guitar transcriptions that I did.  I do sell the songbook on my webiste:
www.hlmusic.com  I have a few customers in Australia. 

I am glad to hear that you are still playing.  I am probably about your age, and now I suppose we are the older generation.  Lead Belly and his music have been inspirations to all kinds of artists and people, and just plain folk, but what I like best is that his music seems to speak to those who have had some unusual problems in their lives. 

Harry

Offline outfidel

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2004, 06:58:31 AM »
Here's a new CD release available on Roots & Rhtythm http://www.rootsandrhythm.com/roots/New_Releases/latest_092404.htm :

LEAD BELLY "Live" - New York 1947/ Austin, Texas 1949
Document DOCD 5676   $15.98

21 track collection. The first four sides were recorded live in 1947 at New York
Town Hall in September 1947 where Leadbelly is accompanied by the Bunk Johnson
band (Johnson, Jimmy Archy, Omer Simeon, Danny Barker, etc) and the remainder
recorded at the University Of Texas, Austin in June, 1949 just six months before
his death and are some of the very last recordings of this giant.



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Offline yayayas

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2004, 06:24:52 AM »
Hi HarryL
also sorry for my even greater delay - thank you for your reply
I AM interested in getting hold of your book.
You have a very interesting web site and I was greatly impressed with your renditions of the songs.
I have felt for some time like revisiting the Leadbelly songs I worked out while younger and transcribing them with greater accuracy. I have been thinking about it, You have done it! I dream of covering most of the library of congress recordings at least.
I noticed in the musical examples from your book you had chosen to write the standard notation in concert pitch. This was a question I had been pondering. I think I would prefer if it were written for the guitarist in his key. This would be more useful to me and I think other guitarists as the 12 string guitar as tuned by Leadbelly is a transposing instrument. Even the six string guitar is written an octave higher than sounded.
I'll let you know how I go. If I get your book I could cover songs you haven't done. I also noted you were doing many of my favorite pieces. I now perform many leadbelly songs with piano.There are some included on a cd of mine coon to be released.
I am doing a version of You Don't Know My Mind and they leave of any composer credits for this song in the booklet that came with the three disc Electra vinyl set. Do you have any recordings of this song with composer and/or publisher credits as I would like to include them on the track listings for royalty reasons. I am trying to finish text for cd by next week!
cheers
yayayas

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2004, 05:17:04 PM »
I picked up the Leadbelly Last Sessions set and have been listening to it non-stop for the past few days. I have to confess my initial exposure to Leadbelly was less than fruitful - the Columbia disc King of the 12-string Guitar has some great stuff on it but always seemed to me to have been run through the amazing Columbia pablum-izer. The sound, in short, starts out bad and gets worse after CEDAR is done with it. That plus an equally questionable compilation on Magnum did not have me dancin' when Leadbelly came on.

Last Sessions has changed all that and I'm a little surprised at the less than enthusiastic responses to it here. Frankly, it's blowing my mind. Wonderful singing and playing throughout, excellent sound, great texture on his voice, a tremendous variety of material. Wow. I'm coming to this late, I know, but really happy I picked this up. L of C recordings are next, and if they're better than this I'll be a very happy camper. Are the Documents and the Rounder discs the same thing? Recommend one over the other?

I did also pick up the Document 2-CD Essential Leadbelly since I found it cheap, which is also a great collection, although no documentation of when the tracks are from so I don't really know what I'm listening to.



Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2004, 05:34:38 PM »
Last Sessions is good but not great (imho), although there are fine moments.  The version of Easy Rider on there brings tears to my eyes.  Lots of great songs, too, but Leadbelly displayed a lot more fire in some of his earlier material.  You'll hear it on the LoC material.  I picked up two volumes of recordings he made for Moses Asch:  "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" and "Bourgeois Blues".  There's some fantastic material on those two as well.

For me, Last Sessions is notable for the fact that it was recorded on magnetic tape - the songs are longer and the audio quality is amazingly clear.  Musically maybe not his best, but he'd set the bar pretty high by the time he recorded them.  I suppose if I hadn't heard the LoC material first, I might have a different opinion.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2004, 05:38:43 PM »
Hi Andrew,
I couldn't agree with you more about the Last Sessions. ?I really think they are wonderful. ?It's amazing that a guy with ALS could still play so strongly. ?I love his time and singing on the various takes of "Irene, Goodnight", and the one take of "Cry For Me" or "Mr. Tom Hughes' Town" is about as well as you will ever hear a twelve-string guitar played. ?I'm crazy about the unaccompanied songs on the first disc, too, like "I Ain't Going Down To The Well No More". It sounds like music from the dawn of time to me. ?
All best,
Johnm ?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 04:43:40 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2004, 05:43:46 PM »
I agree - the unaccompanied material on Last Sessions is definitely top notch.  It's quite an experience to hear something like Go Down Old Hannah, sung so intimately.  Wonderful.

Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2004, 05:49:22 PM »
Funny how synchronistic the weenie line can be:  today we had a little excursion to a nearby state park for a little hike, and I brought the two Leadbelly CDs I mentioned above in the car to listen to.  It is positively amazing to me the way my kids respond to Leadbelly's music - and honest, I never ever sat down and said "hey, this is something you'll like!"  I just put it on once in a while and they become drawn to certain songs.  They connect with him on some personal level that I haven't observed in any other music that I listen to...

Offline Johnm

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2004, 11:45:26 PM »
That is neat to hear how your kids connect with Leadbelly's music, Frank.  I can't pretend to know why that would be so, but one thing that always strikes me when I hear him is how fully engaged he was by the act of singing.  It always sounds like it is getting every ounce of his attention and energy, and as a result it has a quality for me of always existing in the present--it has great "nowness".  It is a rare quality in a musician.  One of the few musicians other than Leadbelly who I think had (has?) it to a comparable degree was Charley Patton.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Montgomery

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Re: Leadbelly
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2004, 08:05:08 AM »
I'm also a fan of Leadbelly's last sessions (and also not a fan of any of Columbia's releases).  I only wish more artists had sat down and recorded 4 discs of practically every song they know (although, in truth, Leadbelly could have recorded probably 10 more discs at those sessions).  The LoC recordings are my favorite, though I only have 3 volumes.  Does anyone have the "Private Party" on Document?  It's quite an amazing, uh, document, although the performances aren't perfect, the idea that he was invited over to play for a bunch of white people while they listen attentively and sing along is sort of mind-blowing (although the whole thing comes off as a little disturbing).  Anyway, the highlight of the disc is him dueting on "Irene" with a little girl.  I'll post it here later if no one's heard it.

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