Huddie William Ledbetter, 20 January 1889, Jeder Plantation, Mooringsport, Louisiana, USA, d. 6 December 1949, New York City, New York, USA. Lead Bellys music offers an incredible vista of American traditions, white as well as black, through his enormous repertoire of songs and tunes. He learned many of them in his youth when he lived and worked in western Louisiana and eastern Texas, but to them he added material from many different sources, including his own compositions, throughout the rest of his life. He played several instruments, including mandolin, accordion, piano and harmonica, but was best known for his mastery of the 12-string guitar. In his early 20s, he met and played with Blind Lemon Jefferson, but the encounter was to leave little if any lasting impression on his music. His sound remained distinctive and individual, with his powerful, yet deeply expressive, vocals and his 12-string guitar lines, which could be booming and blindingly fast or...
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