Huddle Ledbetter

Black history month is once again upon us, I will be posting a different person of interest during this month. I hope you will enjoy learning about these people.

Huddle Ledbetter nickname was Leadbelly he fathered two children at the age of 15. Leadbelly was born in Mooringsport, Louisiana.  He learned the accordion, piano and hamonica.

Leadbelly was a supreme narrative artist many of his songs are spoken as much as sung. Which is a reminder of rap music which comes from a hard knock life. The lyrics are a truth of the life endured by mostly the black encounter of cruelty.

His messages are from the black world of field and prison farm. Much of Leadbellys middle life was spent in prison or on the run. In 1933 whilst in prison in Angola, Louis Ian he was given the chance of a new life when he met the folklorist  John A. Lomax. Who was travelling through the south making recordings for the archive of American Folk Song at the library of Congress.

During the 1940s Leadbelly was part of circle of musicans and leftwing folksong enthusiasts which included Alan Lomax, Josh White, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Guthrie and other members of the Almanac Singers. Leadbelly toured with the musical political group People’s Songs Inc.

By 1947 Leadbelly was back with his wife Maths in New York where he spent his remain years. Leadbelly died of motor neurone disease.

source; The Blues by Tony Russell



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