Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
YouTube Videos
Video Title:
The Making of Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection [Behind The Scenes Documentary]
Archivist and producer Jeff Place discusses 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection,' the 108-track, 140-page box set dedicated to American music icon Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. From some of his first recordings at the Library of Congress to his last at Fred Ramsey's apartment in 1948, Jeff walks us through the process of creating the best possible overview of Lead Belly's career. 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection' available February 24, 2015 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:
9 min 42 sec
YouTube Keywords:
music folk "Woody Guthrie" "Pete Seeger" Smithsonian Folkways old-time non-profit
YouTube Category:
Music  Search this
Cultural property  Search this
See more by:
Data Source:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
YouTube Channel: