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Lead Belly - Masterworks [Great American Music Company - 2008]

Lead Belly or Huddie Ledbetter as he was born is one of the most important and influential figures in American folk and blues history, along with been the first recognised and respected African American singer/ song writer by a wider audience with his first recorded work dating back to 1933.  This compilation brings together all of his important and beloved songs.

Though all the songs here clearly show their age with the recordings crackle and limited sonic depth, there still great timeless and often memorable songs played chiefly with just Lead belly rich voice and up beat acoustic guitar strums and blues moves along with some piano based tracks. The songs lyrics are often very brave for the time with there social commentaryabout opinions towards African Americans and their low grade employment at the time, such as working on building the railways, cotton fields ect. But the music is always kept upbeat and approachable- which of course made him  popular with a wider audience.

A wholly consistent and enjoyable collection of this legends songs and an ideal introduction to his works. With one criticism, though there’s an interesting three page write-up about his history, it would have been nice to have more detailed discussion about each tracks recordings date, origin and reason for importance.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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