Entertainment Weekly - 6/28-7/5/96, p.106
"...Compiling most of his best-known songs ('Irene,' 'Cotton Fields'), it's the first Lead Belly 'greatest hits' CD. The scratchy audio quality only adds to its history-in-the-making aura." - Rating: A
Down Beat - 8/96, p.645 Stars
- Excellent - "Many of the tracks on this timeless folk classic were originally released after Lead Belly's death in 1948 and show the roots of Lead Belly's music....complemented by outtakes, unreleased and alternate versions of other Lead Belly material, all of it absolutely wonderful."
Dirty Linen - 6-7/96, p.73
"...Intended as a comprehensive reissue of the recordings Moses Asch made of the singer between 1941 and 1947..."
WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT? is, in part, a reissue of the first two volumes (Folkways 2004 and 2014) of the four-volume set LEADBELLY'S LEGACY, originally released on 10-inch LPs in the early 1950s. WHERE DID YOU SLEEP uses different versions of some of the songs, and adds outtakes and previously-unreleased recordings.
Personnel includes: Leadbelly (vocals, guitar, button accordion, piano); Brownie McGhee (guitar); Sonny Terry (harmonica); Willie "The Lion" Smith (piano); Pops Foster (bass).
The Oleander Quartet: George Boyd, Cecil Murray, Howard Scott, George Hall (vocals).
Compilation producers: Jeff Place, Anthony Seeger, Matt Walters, Pete Reiniger.
Principally recorded at Asch Recording Studios, New York, New York between 1941 and 1947. Includes liner notes and song-by-song annotations by Jeff Place.
This fine 34-track compilation, collected from sessions produced by Folkways founder Moses Asch and featuring cameos from Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, is a strong compilation of some of Leadbelly's finest recordings. For those confused by the album's name, the titular composition--one of Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter's most haunting and celebrated works--is included here under its original name "In the Pines."
Leadbelly classics like "Cotton Fields" and an early version of "Goodnight Irene" sit beside traditional folk standards like "Pick a Bale of Cotton" and "Grey Goose" and hard blues like "Moanin'," showcasing Leadbelly's remarkable versatility. However, it's the surprise inclusion of five outstanding previously unreleased songs, including a fairly obscure variant of "House of the Rising Sun" called "New Orleans Blues," that makes this compilation essential to Leadbelly fans. As always with Folkways reissues, the sound is excellent.