August 3, 2010

LB Country (video)

Leadbelly came from the country. He was born on a Plantation outside of Mooringsport, which is not a very big town. Today it's probably smaller than it was in 1889. Leadbelly visited the city — Shreveport, about 20 miles away — two or three times. He spent most of his first forty years picking cotton and picking the guitar. Eventually he was discovered and realized as a national treasure: not a conventional pop star, but a person who contained the history of American folk music within him.

Film director Martin Scorsese credited a Lead Belly song with stimulating his interest in music. 
He said:
"One day, around 1958, I remember hearing something that was unlike anything I'd ever heard before...The music was demanding, "Listen to me!"...The song was called "See See Rider," which I already knew from the Chuck Willis cover version. The name of the singer was Lead Belly...I found an old Folkways record by Lead Belly...And I listened to it obsessively. Lead Belly's music opened something up for me. If I could have played guitar, really played it, I never would have become a filmmaker."

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     My area of expertise is: some knowledge of the region Leadbelly inhabited in his younger days, along with some people that Marsha and I...