Smithsonian Folkways To Release ‘Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection’ 5- Disc Set On February 24, 2015

Box Set Includes 108 Tracks, 16 Previously Unreleased Recordings, Rare Photos + 140-pg Large-Format Book

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is proud to present ‘Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection’ – the first in-depth, career-spanning box set of songs, photos, and essays dedicated to one of America’s most treasured 20th-century icons (due out February 24, 2015).

A companion to 2012’s GRAMMY-winning ‘Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection,’ ‘Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection’ chronicles the recordings of Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter (c. 1888-1949) in 108 tracks over five discs, including Lead Belly’s beloved classics “The Midnight Special,” “Goodnight Irene,” and “Black Girl (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)” among many others. The collection also boasts 16 previously unreleased recordings, including four never-before-available original songs, and radio programs Lead Belly made for WNYC which can be heard for the first time since airing in 1941.

Listen to previously unreleased recording “I’m So Glad, I Done Got Over” now, via NPR Here

The set also features many rare photos, among them an intimate portrait taken shortly before his untimely death from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1949. It is one of the few known color photographs of the legend.

Special Pre-Order available, including instant album download, limited-edition poster, and t-shirt: http://www.folkways.si.edu/leadbelly

‘Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection’ was compiled and produced by GRAMMY-winning Smithsonian Folkways archivist Jeff Place and Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum Robert Santelli. The collection is housed in a 140-page, large format (12×12) book, with an introduction entitled ‘A Man of Contradiction and Complexity’ from Santelli and an illuminating essay ‘The Life and Legacy of Lead Belly’ by Place.

In addition, The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, CA is currently hosting an exhibition entitled ‘Lead Belly: A Musical Legacy,’ which showcases a collection of documents and lyrics, as well as his signature 12-string Stella guitar (on display through May, 2015). There will be more special events planned around the box set’s release, with details to follow.

More info on Lead Belly: Lead Belly is “the hard name of a harder man,” said Woody Guthrie of his friend and fellow American music icon, who was born Huddie Ledbetter (c. 1888-1949). From the swamplands of Louisiana, the prisons of Texas, and the streets of New York City, Lead Belly and his music became cornerstones of American folk music and touchstones of African American cultural legacy. With his 12-string Stella guitar, he sang out a cornucopia of songs that included his classics “The Midnight Special,” “Irene,” “The Bourgeois Blues,” and many more, which in turn have been covered by musical notables such as the Beach Boys (“Cotton Fields”), Creedence Clearwater Revival (“The Midnight Special”), Led Zeppelin (“Gallows Pole”), Van Morrison (“The Midnight Special”), Nirvana (“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”), Odetta (“Looking for a Home” tribute album), Little Richard (“Rock Island Line”), Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra (“Irene”) and Tom Waits (“Irene”), among many others. Lead Belly recorded with Folkways Records founder Moses Asch between 1941 and 1947, capturing some of the most important recordings in the history of American music.



Disc 1
1. Irene (Goodnight Irene)
2. The Bourgeois Blues
3. Fannin Street (Mister Tom Hughes Town)
4. The Midnight Special
5. John Henry
6. Black Girl (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)
7. Pick a Bale of Cotton
8. Take This Hammer
9. Cotton Fields
10. Old Riley
11. Rock Island Line
12. The Gallis Pole
13. Ha-Ha This a Way
14. Sukey Jump
15. Boll Weevil
16. Scottsboro Boys
17. Governor O.K. Allen
18. Governor Pat Neef
19. There’s a Man Going Around Taking Names
20. On a Monday
21. You Can’t Lose Me, Cholly
22. Keep Your Hands Off Her
23. We Shall Be Free

Disc 2
1. Alabama Bound
2. Almost Day
3. Fiddler’s Dram
4. Green Corn
5. Sally Walker
6. Bring Me a Little Water, Silvy
7. Julie Ann Johnson
8. Linin’ Track
9. Whoa, Back, Buck
10. Shorty George
11. Ham and Eggs*
12. Moanin’
13. Out On the Western Plain
14. Noted Rider
15. Meeting at the Building
16. Good, Good, Good (Talking, Preaching)/We Shall Walk Through the Valley
17. Ain’t You Glad (The Blood Done Signed My Name)
18. I’m So Glad, I Done Got Over*
19. The Hindenburg Disaster
20. Ella Speed
21. Haul Away Joe
22. Old Man
23. Sweet Jenny Lee
24. Jean Harlow
25. Laura
26. Queen Mary

Disc 3
1. Good Morning Blues
2. Sail On, Little Girl
3. Easy Rider
4. Poor Howard
5. Duncan and Brady
6. How Long, How Long
7. T.B. Blues
8. Jim Crow Blues
9. Pigmeat
10. John Hardy
11. Outskirts of Town
12. 4, 5, and 9
13. In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down)
14. Red Cross Store Blues
15. Diggin’ My Potatoes
16. Blind Lemon
17. When a Man’s a Long Way from Home
18. Alberta
19. Excerpt from The Lonesome Train
20. National Defense Blues
21. Hitler Song (Mr. Hitler)
22. Big Fat Woman
23. Been So Long (Bellevue Hospital Blues)**

Disc 4
1. WNYC–Folk Songs of America–Lead Belly*
a. Grey Goose
b. Boll Weevil
c. Yellow Gal
d. Ha-Ha This a Way
e. Leaving Blues
f. Irene (Outro)

2. WNYC–Folk Songs of America–Lead Belly and the Oleander Quartet*
a. Almost Day
b. Blues in My Kitchen, Blues in My Dining Room
c. I Went Up on the Mountain
d. Good Morning Blues
e. Baby, Don’t You Love Me No More
f. T.B. Blues
g. Irene (Outro)

3. If It Wasn’t For Dicky*
4. What’s You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire (with Anne Graham)*
5. Rock Me (Hide Me in Thy Bosom) (with Anne Graham)*
6. Packin’ Trunk Blues*
7. Leaving Blues
8. How Come You Do Me Like You Do?*
9. One Dime Blues*
10. I’m Going to Buy You a Brand New Ford**
11. Jail-House Blues
12. Shout On
13. Come and Sit Down Beside Me
14. Red River*

Disc 5 – Last Sessions
1. Yes, I Was Standing in the Bottom
2. Ain’t Going Down to the Well No More (Version 2)
3. Everytime I Go Out**
4. Go Down, Old Hannah
5. Black Betty
6. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (with Bessie Smith)*
7. Stewball
8. Ain’t It a Shame to Go Fishin’ on a Sunday
9. Relax Your Mind
10. Princess Elizabeth**
11. Silver City Bound
12. The Titanic
13. House of the Rising Sun
14. It’s Tight Like That
15. Diggin’ My Potatoes
16. Springtime in the Rockies
17. Backwater Blues
18. Didn’t Old John Cross the Water
19. De Kalb Blues
20. They Hung Him on the Cross (Version 1)
21. They Hung Him on the Cross (Version 2)
22. In the World

*Previously Unreleased
**Previously Unreleased Original Song

This project was produced in coordination with the Lead Belly Foundation, The John Reynolds Collection/Lead Belly Society, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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