Leadbelly - Three Songs 1945 - The Only One Video File with Leadbelly

Born January 15, 1888, on the Jeter Plantation near Mooringsport, Louisiana, Huddie William "Leadbelly" Ledbetter became interested in music when he was five years old. His uncle Terrell gave him his first instrument, an accordion. Young Ledbetter was a strong child, who could pick prodigious quantities of cotton, an ability that would assume legendary status while he was incarcerated as an adult. He took up the guitar in 1903, which together with his singing and dancing soon had him playing parties in Mooringsport. The next year Ledbetter, known as a "musicianer" for his instrumental prowess, began to prowl St. Paul's Bottom, a notorious red light district in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Ledbetter was exposed to a variety of music on Fannin Street, a row of saloons, brothels, and dance halls in the Bottoms. Between 1906 and 1908 he drifted through Louisiana, hearing Jelly Roll Morton at a Rampart Street dive in New Orleans, before arriving in Dallas, Texas. In 1908, Huddie suffered a serious illness and returned to his parents' home in Louisiana. Two years later he was back in Dallas and had acquired a twelve-string guitar. In 1912, Ledbetter adopted the working name Leadbelly and took up with Blind Lemon Jefferson, a blind singer/guitarist who would become the most commercially successful bluesman of his time. The partnership lasted perhaps five years, exposing Leadbelly to a variety of blues that he would incorporate into his work. His twelve-string cut through the crowd noise at dances and provided the perfect counterpart to his high, clear vocals.

Leadbelly began to have serious troubles with the law beginning in 1915, and by the following year he was an escaped criminal living under the alias of Walter Boyd. Leadbelly shot and killed Will Stafford in December 1917, while on the run from the law. He was quickly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to Shaw State Prison in Huntsville, Texas. Leadbelly spent the majority of the next seven years in the Texas penal system, becoming a legend for his labor ability and his singing. While in prison, he sang a ballad for Governor Pat Neff in January 1924, begging for a pardon that was granted a year later in one of Neff's last official acts. Soon after his release, Leadbelly first heard blues records by Bessie Smith, his friend Blind Lemon, and Big Bill Broonzy. He soon incorporated these songs into his repertoire, recasting them as his own. Leadbelly lived in Shreveport and Houston from 1925 to 1930 but, unlike Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Memphis Jug Band, and Jim Jackson, who all had hit records during this period, he did not make commercial recordings.

Leadbelly was arrested for attempted homicide in 1930 and was sent to the notorious Angola Prison, the state penitentiary of Louisiana. Huddie played his guitar on Sundays and in his spare time while imprisoned, gaining popularity with prisoners, guards, and Warden L. A. Jones. When folklorist John Lomax arrived at Angola with his son Alan in July 1933 to record "Negro work songs" for the Library of Congress, Warden Jones recommended Leadbelly. The Lomaxes were so impressed with Leadbelly's ability that they returned a year later to record him again, several months before his release for "good time." After his release, Leadbelly accompanied the Lomaxes to other prisons around the South, helping with the recording equipment and demonstrating to the prisoners with impromptu concerts the type of songs they were interested in recording. The prisons included state work farms in Pine Bluff, Tucker, and Gould, Arkansas, where Leadbelly first heard "Rock Island Line."

Leadbelly became a sensation singing for linguistic societies, clubs, and colleges. He made his first commercial recordings for the ARC label in January 1935 and recorded the majority of his work in New York City over the next fourteen years. Leadbelly became a symbol of the burgeoning "folk movement" during the late 1930s and 1940s, recording and entertaining until his death.

Leadbelly died on December 6, 1949, in New York City and is buried in the Shiloh Baptist Church graveyard near Mooringsport.

1 - Pick a bale of cotton
2 - Lord lord lord
3 - Take this hammer


Ry Cooder - Vigilante Man

Artist Biography by Steve Huey at ALLMUSIC

Whether serving as a session musician, solo artist, or soundtrack composer, Ry Cooder's chameleon-like fretted instrument virtuosity, songwriting, and choices of material encompass an incredibly eclectic range of North American musical styles, including rock & roll, blues, reggae, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, and vaudeville. The 16-year-old Cooder began his career in 1963 in a blues band with Jackie DeShannon and then formed the short-lived Rising Sons in 1965 with Taj Mahal and Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy. Cooder met producer Terry Melcher through the Rising Sons and was invited to perform at several sessions with Paul Revere & the Raiders. During his subsequent career as a session musician, Cooder's trademark slide guitar work graced the recordings of such artists as Captain Beefheart (Safe as Milk), Randy Newman, Little Feat, Van Dyke Parks, the Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers), Taj Mahal, and Gordon Lightfoot. He also appeared on the soundtracks of Candy and Performance.

Cooder made his debut as a solo artist in 1970 with a self-titled album featuring songs by Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson, Sleepy John Estes, and Woody Guthrie. The follow-up, Into the Purple Valley, introduced longtime cohorts Jim Keltner on drums and Jim Dickinson on bass, and it and Boomer's Story largely repeated and refined the syncopated style and mood of the first. In 1974, Cooder produced what is generally regarded as his best album, Paradise and Lunch, and its follow-up, Chicken Skin Music, showcased a potent blend of Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, gospel, and soul, and featured contributions from Flaco Jimenez and Gabby Pahinui. In 1979, Bop Till You Drop was the first major-label album to be recorded digitally. In the early '80s, Cooder began to augment his solo output with soundtrack work on such films as Blue Collar, The Long Riders, and The Border; he has gone on to compose music for Southern Comfort, Goin' South, Paris, Texas, Streets of Fire, Alamo Bay, Blue City, Crossroads, Cocktail, Johnny Handsome, Steel Magnolias, and Geronimo. Music by Ry Cooder (1995) compiled two discs' worth of highlights from Cooder's film work.

In 1992, Cooder joined Keltner, John Hiatt, and renowned British tunesmith Nick Lowe, all of whom had played on Hiatt's Bring the Family, to form Little Village, which toured and recorded one album. Cooder turned his attention to world music, recording the album A Meeting by the River with Indian musician V.M. Bhatt. Cooder's next project, a duet album with renowned African guitarist Ali Farka Touré titled Talking Timbuktu, won the 1994 Grammy for Best World Music Recording.

His next world crossover would become one of the most popular musical rediscoveries of the 20th century. In 1997, Cooder traveled to Cuba to produce and play with a group of son musicians who had little exposure outside of their homeland. The resulting album, Buena Vista Social Club, was a platinum-selling international success that made stars of Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Rubén González, and earned Cooder another Grammy. He continued to work on projects with his Buena Vista bandmates, including a collaboration with Manuel Galbán in 2003 titled Mambo Sinuendo. His other work in the 2000s included sessions with James Taylor, Aaron Neville, Warren Zevon, and Spanish diva Luz Casal.

In 2005, Cooder released Chavez Ravine, his first solo album since 1987's Get Rhythm; the album was the first entry in a trilogy of recordings about the disappearance of Los Angeles' cultural history as a result of gentrification. Chavez Ravine was followed by My Name Is Buddy in 2007, and the final chapter in the saga, I, Flathead in 2009. In 2010, Cooder was approached by Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains to produce an album. Moloney had been obsessed with an historical account of the San Patricios, a band of immigrant Irish soldiers who deserted the American Army during the Mexican-American War in 1846 to fight for the other side, against the Manifest Destiny ideology of James Polk's America. Cooder agreed and the end result was San Patricio, which brings this fascinatingly complex tale to life. In early 2011, Cooder was taken by a headline about bankers and other moneyed citizens who'd actually profited from the bank bailouts and resulting mortgage and economic crisis, and wrote the song "No Banker Left Behind," which became the first song on 2011's Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, an album that reached all the way back to his earliest recordings for musical inspiration while telling topical stories about corruption -- political and social -- the erasure and the rewriting of American history, and an emerging class war. A month after its release, Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's fabled City Lights publishing house issued Cooder's first collection of short fiction entitled Los Angeles Stories. He continued to follow his socio-political muse with Election Special, released in the summer of 2012, and in 2013 released Live in San Francisco, his first live album in 35 years, with Corridos Famosos (son Joachim on percussion, Flaco Jimenez on accordion, Robert Francis on bass, and vocalists Terry Evans, Arnold McCuller, and Juliette Commagere). The ten-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil also guested. In 2014, Rhino Records offered an epic-scale look at Cooder's work in film scoring with Soundtracks, a seven-disc box set compiled from his movie music of the '80s and '90s.


Johnny Winter - Death Letter

Johnny Winter has been a guitar hero without equal. Signing to Columbia records in 1969 called largest solo artist deal of it’s time, Johnny immediately laid out the blueprint for his fresh take on classic blues a prime combination for the legions of fans just discovering the blues via the likes of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. Constantly shifting between simple country blues in the vein of Robert Johnson, to all-out electric slide guitar blues-rock, – Johnny has always been one of the most respected singers and guitar players in rock and the clear link between British blues-rock and American Southern rock (a la the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.) Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Johnny was the unofficial torch-bearer for the blues, championing and aiding the careers of his idols like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe - This Train

Alongside Willie Mae Ford Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is widely acclaimed among the greatest Sanctified gospel singers of her generation; a flamboyant performer whose music often flirted with the blues and swing, she was also one of the most controversial talents of her day, shocking purists with her leap into the secular market -- by playing nightclubs and theaters, she not only pushed spiritual music into the mainstream, but in the process also helped pioneer the rise of pop-gospel. Tharpe was born March 20, 1915 in Cotton Plant, AR; the daughter of Katie Bell Nubin, a traveling missionary and shouter in the classic gospel tradition known throughout the circuit as "Mother Bell," she was a prodigy, mastering the guitar by the age of six. At the same time, she attended Holiness conventions alongside her mother, performing renditions of songs including "The Day Is Past and Gone" and "I Looked Down the Line."

In time, the family relocated to Chicago, where Tharpe began honing her unique style; blessed with a resonant vibrato, both her vocal phrasing and guitar style drew heavy inspiration from the blues, and she further aligned herself with the secular world with a sense of showmanship and glamour unique among the gospel performers of her era. Signing to Decca in 1938, Tharpe became a virtual overnight sensation; her first records, among them Thomas A. Dorsey's "Rock Me" and "This Train," were smash hits, and quickly she was performing in the company of mainstream superstars including Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman. She led an almost schizophrenic existence, remaining in the good graces of her core audience by recording material like "Precious Lord," "Beams of Heaven," and "End of My Journey" while also appealing to her growing white audience by performing rearranged, uptempo spirituals including "Didn't It Rain" and "Down by the Riverside."

During World War II, Tharpe was so popular that she was one of only two black gospel acts -- the Golden Gate Quartet being the other -- to record V-Discs for American soldiers overseas; she also toured the nation in the company of the Dixie Hummingbirds, among others. In 1944, she began recording with boogie-woogie pianist Sammy Price; their first collaboration, "Strange Things Happening Every Day," even cracked Billboard's race records Top Ten, a rare feat for a gospel act, and one which she repeated several more times during the course of her career. In 1946, she teamed with the Newark-based Sanctified shouter Madame Marie Knight, whose simple, unaffected vocals made her the perfect counterpoint for Tharpe's theatrics; the duo's first single, "Up Above My Head," was a huge hit, and over the next few years they played to tremendous crowds across the church circuit.

However, in the early '50s Tharpe and Knight cut a handful of straight blues sides; their fans were outraged, and although Knight soon made a permanent leap into secular music -- to little success -- Tharpe remained first and foremost a gospel artist, although her credibility and popularity were seriously damaged. Not only did her record sales drop off and her live engagements become fewer and farther between, but many purists took Tharpe's foray into the mainstream as a personal affront; the situation did not improve, and she spent over a year touring clubs in Europe, waiting for the controversy to die down. Tharpe's comeback was slow but steady, and by 1960 she had returned far enough into the audience's good graces to appear at the Apollo Theatre alongside the Caravans and James Cleveland. While not a household name like before, she continued touring even after suffering a major stroke in 1970, dying in Philadelphia on October 9, 1973.


Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday's songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday's poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time.