Huddie William Ledbetter
January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949
"Lead Belly", One of the Founding Fathers of the Blues
...allowing us to draw upon the past
"Lead Belly" Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the world as “Lead Belly,” survived a life that included brutalizing poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblematic folk singer and musician.
While you may not be familiar with the name Huddie Ledbetter, or his nickname "Lead Belly," you might be familiar with his song-writing, i.e., 'Goodnight Irene', ‘Cotton Fields’, 'The Rock Island Line', and ‘The Midnight Special'. His signature instrument was the 12-string guitar, which later earned him the nickname King of the 12-String Guitar.
Beginning at the age of 17, he found himself on a chain gang. That was just the beginning...imprisoned, pardoned, imprisoned, pardoned again...what a story for a monster singer/songwriter whose talents were what set him free! Read about "Lead Belly" HERE...
Here’s a famous song "Lead Belly" learned during his first round in jail. It’s about being trapped in prison and knowing there’s a life outside the walls. You know this one. “Midnight Special.”
The song, as well as many others, is historically performed in the country-blues style from the viewpoint of the prisoner and has been covered by many artists.
Original 1934 version of "Rock Island Line" by John Lomax who discovered "Lead Belly" while in prison.
Then, in 1957 came along the hit version of "Rock Island Line" by Johnny Cash.
Also in today's spotlight...
Beyoncé: a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist who's acclaimed for her thrilling vocals, videos and live shows
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American singer and actress born and raised in Houston, Texas. Beyoncé rose to fame as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. She released her first solo album a year before the group disbanded. Critics hail her as one of the best entertainers in contemporary popular music. In addition to her music career, she has appeared in several movies, including Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Pink Panther and Dreamgirls.
[...if you haven't already discovered the link!]
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...