Absolutely the Best Original recording remastered
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It's sort of 12-string guitar thing, folky and strummy, and it lacks the guts that you expect in a good blues recording. But, hey, Lead Belly played 12-string guitar, you say? Darn right, and he played it better on "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (Smithsonian Folkways), for example.
The recording quality here is pretty good. There's some noise, but it's better than you might expect of recordings from this era. It's the performance that suffers. Lead Belly's material is timeless, but the renditions that we have here fall short of sounding inspiring. Great artist. Check elsewhere for his great stuff.
Most substantially, these songs were released by Rykodisc in 1996 as Goodnight Irene (10 tracks) and In the Shadow of the Gallows Pole (13 tracks), and then in total as The Tradition Masters (23 tracks, 2002) with liner notes by noted music writer Ed Ward. That disc represents many (but not all) of Leadbelly's truly classic titles. The missing classics include "Midnight Special," "Grey Goose," "Rock Island Line," and "Cotton Fields" - all of which are included on Folkways: The Original Vision, a marvelous companion disc with very little overlap (and a bunch a great Woody Guthrie songs).
Anyway, Fuel's "Absolutely the Best" CD runs just 15 tracks, and that's after they toss in the 1948 Folkways version of "Midnight Special." Overall, it's OK, but it's way, way shorter than necessary and, as standard for the label, they provide very little track annotation - and Bill Dahl's generally fine essay is no substitute.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're learning about the blues, I think you need to experience Leadbelly. It pretty rough. This guy lived the blues and recorded the blues before the recording studios were... Read morePublished 20 months ago by TEnRight
LOVE THIS ALBUM and THIS MUSICIAN. His music is hauntingly beautiful and simple. They are so bare bones and real. Read morePublished on November 30, 2013 by whitney leah duncan
the sound quality is poor it is almost like someone recorded a record playing in a closed room not worth the money spentPublished on February 17, 2013 by miki2811
The original Library of Congress recordings of Leadbelly, were pretty rough, but they had a driving, raw power. Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by J.B. Law