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American folksinger Lead Belly on CBC in 1947

The Story

Legendary American folksinger Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, is in Montreal to give a concert and CBC radio's News Roundup has sent reporter Steve Brott to interview him.  They talk about his role collecting music with music ethnologist Alan Lomax, the various categories of the music they collected, and Lead Belly sings a portion of Grey Goose, as an example of a work song.


Broadcast Medium: Radio
Program: CBC News Roundup
Broadcast Date: Jan. 23, 1947
Host: Larry Henderson
Reporter: Steve Brott
Guest: Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly)
Duration: 2:19
Photo from the William P. Gottlieb Collection (Library of Congress)

Did You know?

• Huddie Ledbetter was born Jan. 21, 1885 near Mooringsport Louisiana, and died in New York City on Dec. 6, 1949. (According to the Encyclopedia of Folk, Western and Country Music, ed. by Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon, his year of birth "is variously reported as 1885 and 1888.") He was imprisoned for murder in 1918, but gained a reprieve in 1925. He went to prison again in 1930, for "intent to murder", and it was while he was in jail that he was discovered by Alan Lomax, who was a folklorist with the Library of Congress.  

• The concert was held at The Monument-National in Montreal on Jan. 24, 1947. A brief review in the Montreal Gazette on Jan. 27, 1947 reported that "he handled a 12-string guitar like a master" and described his "work songs and jail songs" as "perhaps the best".  



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