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...that's the biggest disaster, people goin' around goin': 'mah baby left me, mommma...' [laughter]. Hel-lo, y'know? It's like absolutely bizarre. Nobody cares whose voice you sing in as long as it yours - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings  (Read 11878 times)

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Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2011, 09:33:54 PM »
I've managed to line up virtually all of the listed LOC recordings with the various Rounder and Document CDs.  At some point, I'll type up my notes an post the results.  For now, I'll note the following:

There are six Rounder CDs and six Document CDs containing Leadbelly LOC material, as follows:

ROUNDER
Midnight Special (Volume 1)
Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (Volume 2)
Let It Shine on Me (Volume 3)
Titanic (Volume 4)
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen (Volume 5)
Go Down Old Hannah (Volume 6)

DOCUMENT
Field Recordings Volume 5: Louisiana, Texas, Bahamas (1933-1940)
The Remaining ARC and Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 1 (1934-1935)
The Remaining Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 2 (1935)
The Remaining Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 3 (1935)
The Remaining Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 4 (1935-1938)
The Remaining Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 5 (1938-1942)

The liner notes to Rounder Vol.1 indicates that it is the first in a "comprehensive" three volume set.  The Rounder collection was neither, being six volumes and obviously not even being comprehensive as a six-volume set.  (The 12-LP Document set could not have been comprehensive either, as the material on the Rounder and Document CDs, which, save for two or three songs, do not overlap at all, would combine for significantly more than 12 LPs.)  

As was noted, the Rounder CDs, which are not chronological, likely "cherry picked" what Rounder thought were the best songs.  The first volume concentrates on Leadbelly's early work (mid-1934 through January 1935).  The second volume includes five 1935 works then takes the rest from 1937, 1938 and 1940.  All but one of the Volume 3 songs are from the August 1940 session.  Presumably, the original idea was to end there, but apparently a subsequent decision was made to add more volumes.  Volume 4 seems to return to where Volume 1 left off, taking all but one selection from 1934 and (mostly) January 1935.  Similarly, Volume 5 retraces Volume 2's steps, taking eight songs from March 1935 and the rest from 1937 and 1938.  And again, Volume 6 (like Volume 3) takes all but one song from the August 1940 session.

The Document CDs fill in virtually all of the gaps left by Rounder.  Field Recordings Volume 5 has the 1933 session (entirely ignored by Rounder) and some of the July 1934 songs.  The Remaining ARC and Library of Congress Recordings ? Volume 1 (1934-1935) picks up where Field Recordings Volume 5 leaves off, but adds 12 ARC 1935 recordings at the end.  The remaining Document CDs are all LOC recordings.  They are chronologically ordered.  Only a few songs are missing.

As far as assessing the quality, there are at least two songs that are on both collections.  And, of course, both include songs from the same sessions, so a comparison of sorts can be made in that respect.  I'll leave that for some other time, though.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 09:38:38 PM by misterjones »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2011, 06:16:27 AM »

The liner notes to Rounder Vol.1 indicates that it is the first in a "comprehensive" three volume set.  The Rounder collection was neither, being six volumes and obviously not even being comprehensive as a six-volume set.  (The 12-LP Document set could not have been comprehensive either, as the material on the Rounder and Document CDs, which, save for two or three songs, do not overlap at all, would combine for significantly more than 12 LPs.)  

Actually, the Document LP series was nearly comprehensive. If you look at Blues & Gospel Records 4th Ed., the Document LPs cover all of Leadbelly's Library of Congress recordings save 10 titles or so, and cover far more than Rounder. So it seems possible to me now that <PURE SPECULATION> Rounder issued some kind of cease and desist, or some other lawyerly shenanigan, to Document, </PURE SPECULATION> and the LoC recordings now available on Document CDs cover those titles that did not appear on Rounder, perhaps with a few exceptions as you note.

I've got the above discographical lists in a table and have added the Document CD numbers for each track. Won't have time to post them for a bit but they're done. Rounder's another story.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 06:45:53 AM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2011, 06:37:42 AM »
I realized I can post the Excel sheet right away for anyone who wanted to fill in Rounder disc numbers in column D.  :P  The code in column F is for posting on the forum and later Weeniepedia, so can be ignored for now.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 06:40:56 AM by uncle bud »

Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2011, 07:33:43 AM »
Actually, the Document LP series was nearly comprehensive. If you look at Blues & Gospel Records 4th Ed., the Document LPs cover all of Leadbelly's Library of Congress recordings save 10 titles or so, and cover far more than Rounder. So it seems possible to me now that <PURE SPECULATION> Rounder issued some kind of cease and desist, or some other lawyerly shenanigan, to Document, </PURE SPECULATION> and the LoC recordings now available on Document CDs cover those titles that did not appear on Rounder, perhaps with a few exceptions as you note.

I've got the above discographical lists in a table and have added the Document CD numbers for each track. Won't have time to post them for a bit but they're done. Rounder's another story.

I recall reading that there were 12 Document LPs.  I haven't seen the track listing for the Document LPs, so my statement was merely based on the assumption that one could not fit 11 CDs worth of material on 12 LPs.

Legal shenanigans are always possible, but my guess is that Rounder just bought the rights to the recordings from whoever purported to own the copyright and/or "work product" of the material and issued what they wanted to issue.  I wouldn't be surprised if Document - far from being told to cease-and-desist - directly sold the rights to their masters to Rounder and later "re-issued" all that was left over.  Of course, there might have been others involved - the Leadbelly estate, Alan Lomax, and the Library of Congress itself - so the deal might have been far more complicated.

In any event, I think I can supply the information indicating where the various songs appear on Rounder.  Just let me know where I need to go to do so (unless you'd just prefer an e-mail including a list of my results).
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 07:36:36 AM by misterjones »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2011, 08:29:31 AM »
I'm not sure Document would actually own the rights to any of the recordings they've reissued.

For the Rounder titles, if you have Excel, you can download the sheet I attached above and enter the Rounder disc number in the Rounder column (column D).

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2011, 08:32:03 AM »
I recall reading that there were 12 Document LPs.
Yes you read it earlier in this discussion, they were issued in 1990 in one batch.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2011, 09:13:12 AM »
I'm not sure Document would actually own the rights to any of the recordings they've reissued.

For the Rounder titles, if you have Excel, you can download the sheet I attached above and enter the Rounder disc number in the Rounder column (column D).

Not "rights" in the sense of copyright, but rather the work a company puts into assembling and remastering the music.  Even with public domain works, this can have legally protectible value.  I was thinking more along the lines of Rounder purchasing or leasing Document's mastertapes to use as the basis for their CDs.

The copyright is more complicated.  I know John Lomax listed himself as the creator/co-creator of some of the songs and certainly Leadbelly (actually his estate) could still possess performance rights in the music.  The music also could have been considered a work-for-hire by the LOC, giving the government an interest in the music.  And who knows who assigned or sold what to whom over the years.

I have Excel and will give it a shot.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 09:15:38 AM by misterjones »

Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2011, 11:56:21 AM »
Here's the spreadsheet with the Rounder designations added.  The designations are as follows:
RCD-1044 = Midnight Special (Volume 1)
RCD-1045 = Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (Volume 2)
RCD-1046 = Let It Shine on Me (Volume 3)
RCD-1097 = Titanic (Volume 4)
RCD-1098 = Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen (Volume 5)
RCD-1099 = Go Down Old Hannah (Volume 6)

Perhaps a key with the desgnations is in order.

Also:
(1) I took the liberty of adding DOCD-5579 to 120-A-6, 120-A-7 and 120-B-5, because they appear to be included on that CD.
(2) Should "Soldier in the Army of My Lord" be added to the 8/23/40 session?  It is on DOCD-5595 and they list it as "4471-A-4(a)" after "Witness for My Lord-2".
(3) Because there were no discographical details for the last three Rounders (and none that I otherwise could find), I applied common sense to determine which tracks were included.  It was relatively easy, as Rounder clearly seems to have followed a chronological course.  In one instance ("Amazing Grace-2"), I couldn't tell which version was used.  I put a "?" after the two versions.


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2011, 07:21:27 PM »
Great, will start revising the lists.


Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2011, 09:27:39 PM »
(3) Because there were no discographical details for the last three Rounders (and none that I otherwise could find), I applied common sense to determine which tracks were included.  It was relatively easy, as Rounder clearly seems to have followed a chronological course.  In one instance ("Amazing Grace-2"), I couldn't tell which version was used.  I put a "?" after the two versions.

I was able find additional details on the Rounder tracks, and they check out as I indicated.  Regarding "Amazing Grace", it is the earlier version (4470-B-3)that is on RCD-1099, so you can delete the two question marks and the designation listed for the subsequent version (4470-B-5).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 09:29:33 PM by misterjones »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2011, 07:34:10 AM »
Here's the spreadsheet with the Rounder designations added.  The designations are as follows:
RCD-1044 = Midnight Special (Volume 1)
RCD-1045 = Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (Volume 2)
RCD-1046 = Let It Shine on Me (Volume 3)
RCD-1097 = Titanic (Volume 4)
RCD-1098 = Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen (Volume 5)
RCD-1099 = Go Down Old Hannah (Volume 6)

Perhaps a key with the desgnations is in order.

Yes, definitely. Will do this at the formatting stage, after the data is dealt with.

Quote
Also:
(1) I took the liberty of adding DOCD-5579 to 120-A-6, 120-A-7 and 120-B-5, because they appear to be included on that CD.

I don't have this disc so was going by what Document lists on their website, where these titles are not shown as being included. Not that that means a whole lot. But where did you see they are indeed included?

Quote
(2) Should "Soldier in the Army of My Lord" be added to the 8/23/40 session?  It is on DOCD-5595 and they list it as "4471-A-4(a)" after "Witness for My Lord-2".

I'll add it in. With that accession number, it looks like "Soldier in the Army of My Lord" (4471-a-4[a]) was recorded on the same cut as "Witness for My Lord", hence the [a]. Document separates them into individual tracks of about a minute each. Basically, all of 4471-A was Lomax recording Leadbelly singing a series of 5 unaccompanied religious "shouts" one after another.

Quote
(3) Because there were no discographical details for the last three Rounders (and none that I otherwise could find), I applied common sense to determine which tracks were included.  It was relatively easy, as Rounder clearly seems to have followed a chronological course.  In one instance ("Amazing Grace-2"), I couldn't tell which version was used.  I put a "?" after the two versions.

I was able find additional details on the Rounder tracks, and they check out as I indicated.  Regarding "Amazing Grace", it is the earlier version (4470-B-3)that is on RCD-1099, so you can delete the two question marks and the designation listed for the subsequent version (4470-B-5).

Where did you end up finding the additional discographical info in the end?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 07:35:28 AM by uncle bud »

Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2011, 09:12:57 AM »
[1]  I don't have this disc so was going by what Document lists on their website, where these titles are not shown as being included. Not that that means a whole lot. But where did you see they are indeed included?

[2]  Where did you end up finding the additional discographical info in the end?

Regarding [1] - Not that it is definitive, but Amazon lists them as being included in track 3.

http://www.amazon.com/Field-Recordings-Vol-Louisiana-1933-1940/dp/B000006NLB/ref=sr_1_5?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1303401709&sr=1-5

UPDATE - Actually, I initially saw it here:

http://www.discogs.com/Various-Field-Recordings-Volume-5-Louisiana-Texas-Bahamas-1933-1940/release/2580551


Regarding [2] - I have downloaded versions of almost all of Volumes 4-6 and I noticed the numbers are listed next to the song titles.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 12:18:55 PM by misterjones »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2011, 01:09:17 AM »
It looks like Rounder missed an opportunity by not including the stupendous (both in performance and sound quality) 9.50 minute Leavin' On The Morning Train. Perhaps the compilers regarded the length as detrimental. It was on Vol.9 in the Document LP series and fortunately somebody at JSP had the good sense to include it in their 2006 CD box set Leadbelly & the Library of Congress 1934-1939 (JSP 7764).
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 01:12:07 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline misterjones

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2011, 08:50:45 AM »
Thanks for the info.  To clarify a bit, the JSP set is called "Important Recordings 1934-1949" and only disc A contains LOC material (with the title you note).

http://www.discogs.com/Leadbelly-Important-Recordings-1934-1949/release/1018965

I suppose those recordings could be included in the Leabelly LOC index.  (I don't have the set you are referring to, though.)  The particular song you mention is included in the Document series (vol. 4, track 22).
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 09:02:03 AM by misterjones »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leadbelly's Library of Congress Recordings
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2011, 10:39:58 AM »
Thought I'd bump this in light of the PWB posting a link to John Cowley?s revised version of his 1991 Blues & Rhythm article in downloadable, PDF form

http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/view/author/Cowley=3AJohn=3A=3A.html

In its day this article received much critical acclaim.