Combining two '50s-era anthologies onto one disc, this Collectables two-fer is both a fine collection of tunes by the legendary singer/guitarist Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter and an interesting example of how the musician's unique vision was been anthologized in the past.
PARTY SONGS is in the style of the also-excellent LEADBELLY SINGS FOR CHILDREN, and in fact contains different recordings of some of the songs from that collection. Favoring traditional folk tunes like "Skip to My Lou" and "Ha Ha This Away"--both featured in two versions--and playful blues like "You Can't Lose Me Cholly," the 11 tracks from PARTY SONGS more than live up to the album's title. This is Leadbelly at his brightest. SINGS AND PLAYS, meanwhile, consists entirely of blues standards like the gospel-tinged classic "Midnight Special," the lazy "Don't Mind the Weather," and the inspirational "Take This Hammer," making it an album more appealing to blues purists.