Well big news from Clove Valley, our neighbors have sold their house to Steve Miller, the guitarist of the Steve Miller Band. The house isn’t near the farm so the music shouldn’t disturb the chickens.

In honor of our new arrival here is a great video of the great blues guitarist,Lead Belly from 1935. He made Good Night Irene a standard and Pete Seeger made it famous. This video is a real period piece, my how things have changed.

“A folklorist, John Lomax and his son Alan Lomax, with funding from the Library of Congress recorded Huddie William Ledbetter, commonly known as Lead Belly or Leadbelly. They first meet him while he was imprisoned. They were deeply impressed by his vibrant tenor voice and huge repertoire, they recorded him on portable aluminum disc recording equipment for the Library of Congress. They returned to record with new and better equipment in July of the following year (1934), all in all recording hundreds of his songs. On August 1, Lead Belly was released (again having served almost all of his minimum sentence), this time after the Lomaxes had taken a petition to Louisiana Governor Oscar K. Allen at Ledbetter’s urgent request. The petition was on the other side of a recording of his signature song, “Goodnight Irene.”

Kip Lornell, a Leadbelly expert, thinks this is almost certainly footage from March/April 1935, shot in Wilton, CT. — probably at the home of friends of the Lomaxes. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever seen footage from this event (Martha joining Huddie in NYC) but I have seen stills. He confirmed that, this was before he recorded for ARC, though he had previously recorded for the Library of Congress. Its also well before he recorded anything for Moe Asch, which is now Smithsonian Folkways material.”


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