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Jeff Place on Lead Belly's Legacy [Interview Video]
Smithsonian Folkways producer and archivist Jeff Place takes us through a history of the singer's biggest hits as he discusses the importance of modern incarnations in keeping the Lead Belly legacy alive. Huddie Ledbetter, known to the world as Lead Belly, died in 1949, but his influence lives on. His songs have been covered by everyone from the Weavers (Goodnight Irene, 1950) to Led Zeppelin (Gallows Pole, 1970), Mark Lanegan with Kurt Cobain (Where Did You Sleep Last Night, 1990) and Nirvana (Where Did You Sleep Last Night, 1994), and most recently musicians such as Jack White (Goodnight Irene, 2014), Valerie June (Goodnight Irene, 2014), and the band Smog (In the Pines, 2005). 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection' available on CD Box Set and Digital. Stream/download/purchase: Smithsonian Folkways: Spotify: 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection,' the first career-spanning box set dedicated to the American music icon, features 5 hours of music with 16 unreleased tracks. 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, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison, Nirvana, Odetta, Little Richard, Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection' brings us the story of the man as well as the musician. Lead Belly: Facebook: Twitter: Smithsonian Folkways: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: The content and comments posted here are subject to the Smithsonian Institution copyright and privacy policy ( Smithsonian reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove any content at any time.
Video Duration:
4 min 10 sec
YouTube Keywords:
music folk "Woody Guthrie" "Pete Seeger" Smithsonian Folkways old-time non-profit
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Music  Search this
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Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
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