“"The Midnight Special" And Other Southern Prison Songs” by Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1941Album Chart of the Decade: 1940s

TJR says

The mistreatment blues as recognised by slaves and prisoners the world over; hell yeah, these are the sacred songs of the jubilee quartets! Whoever came up with the idea of pairing Lead Belly with the popular Golden Gate Quartet was inspired. His rough n ready inflection to their velvet croon made for a terrific set, whether a capella or musically accompanied. I could well imagine that this appealed to folks who otherwise may not have appreciated one or the other. The six tracks were laid down over the course of two days in June 1940 and first issued as an album set in January 1941. Here, Lead Belly revels in his roots, and in the older folk songs like “Pick A Bale Of Cotton” and “Midnight Special” he's in full songster glory. Tiny Robinson, Lead Belly's niece, tells: “He sang spiritual because when he was child that was all he knew. His family was very religious and quite a bit of still exist in Lead Belly. He remembers old spiritual tune his mother and father sang at church and around home. Lead Belly sang quite a few of them. He say they give him courage and expand his memory from long hot days on the small farm. He could see his mother and himself working side by side harmonizing those tune.” After having brought Woody Guthrie to the fore a couple of months earlier, RCA produced another winner here, so fair play to them. Let’s just hope they paid the men their proper dues…

The Jukebox Rebel

A [03:03] 9.0.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Midnight Special [1940 version] (Traditional, Huddie Ledbetter) Soul
B [02:55] 6.3.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Ham An’ Eggs (Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe) Folk
C [02:58] 6.8.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Stew Ball (Huddie Ledbetter) Folk
D [03:01] 7.3.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Grey Goose [1940 version] (Huddie Ledbetter, Traditional) Folk
E [03:00] 8.4.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Pick A Bale Of Cotton (Huddie Ledbetter) Folk
F [03:03] 8.7.png Lead Belly and The Golden Gate Quartet - Alabama Bound (Huddie Ledbetter, Traditional) Blues / Rhythm n Blues

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