Lead Belly - Keep Your Hands Off Her

Lead Belly - Huddie William Ledbetter. (born 1888).  Lead Belly was a giant in his impact on American Folk Blues music.  As a contemporary of Woodie Guthrie, Cisco Houston and Pete Seeger in folk circles and Sonny Terry &, Brownie McGhee among blues players, Lead Belly had a deep impact on American music well past his death in 1949.  

Some of the many songs he recorded were his own compositions, others were his adaptation of gospel, prison or field songs of the American south.  Many of his recording are listed "Leadbelly", while he himself wrote it as "Lead Belly", which is also the spelling on his tombstone.  When I was a teenager learning guitar and blues music Lead Belly's record "Keep Your Hands Off Her" (Verve Folkways FV-9021 / 1965) was tops in our circle of friends. 

The songs National Defense Blues, On a Monday, There's a Man Goin´ Around Takin´ Names and Little Children's Blues were his songs played amongst us from this recording.  Little Children's Blues is a staple in the RAILROAD RAMBLERS repertoire. Lead Belly's unique blues sound on 12 string guitar resonates on the walking bass line of National Defense Blues with a classic lyric line; "every payday comes, she has a check as big as my arm".

Here is a sampling of some of his songs done by popular musical acts:

"Black Betty" - made popular by a 1970's rock group RAM JAM

"C.C. Rider" - many recordings by popular artists including The Animals

"Cotton Fields" - Creedence Clearwater Revival, also the Beach Boys

"Duncan and Brady" - New Riders of the Purple Sage

"The Gallows Pole" - Led Zepplin

"Goodnight Irene" - many artists

"How Long, How Long Blues" (with Sonny Terry)- by Leroy Carr - Hot Tuna/Jorma Kaukonen

"House of The Rising Sun" - Dave Van Ronk stopped playing it when Bob Dylan started playing it who stopped playing it when the Animals made it a hit...

"In the Pines" - traditional

"Little Children's Blues" - the Railroad Ramblers

"Midnight Special" - traditional, Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Outskirts of Town" -

"Salty Dog" - traditional, many artists

"TB Blues" - by Jimmie Rodgers

"We shall Be Free" (with Woody Guthrie)"

List of songs recorded by Lead Belly (partial) (Wikipedia)


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