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Was Lead Belly A Protest Singer? NMAAHC Director Lonnie Bunch III [Interview Video]
In 2015, Smithsonian Folkways released: 'Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection,' the 108-track, 140-page box set dedicated to American music icon Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. Although Lead Belly sang songs such as "Bourgeois Blues" and "Jim Crow Blues," was he a protest singer? Lonnie Bunch III, historian and director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture discusses the question. '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:
2 min 41 sec
YouTube Keywords:
music folk "Woody Guthrie" "Pete Seeger" Smithsonian Folkways old-time non-profit
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