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Absolutely the Best Original recording remastered

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, October 3, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

15 beyond-legendary tracks by this folk-blues giant, digitally remastered from the original 78s! Includes Goodnight, Irene; John Hardy; Midnight Special; How Long; Where Did You Sleep Last Night; When I Was a Cowboy , and more.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. In New Orleans (House Of The Rising Sun)
  2. The Bourgeois Blues
  3. Goodnight, Irene
  4. Looky, Looky Yonder/Black Betty/Yellow Women's Doorbells
  5. Borrow Love And Go
  6. De Kalb Blues
  7. John Hardy
  8. How Long
  9. Roberta
  10. Pretty Flower In Your Backyard
  11. The Gallis Pole
  12. Where Did You Sleep Last Night
  13. Midnight Special
  14. John Hardy (Version 2)
  15. When I Was A Cowboy


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • ASIN: B00004YWVX
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Leadbelly Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
What a great title for a great album.....i wont list song titles all of the good ones are here, digitally remastered and sounding great!!!! I wish i had bought this before i purchased about 10 leadbelly cd's of leser quality, becase i would have saved myself a ton of money!!!! Cool artwork and liner notes as well this is a collection worth well over the sticker price!
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Format: Audio CD
If you're just getting into Lead Belly, this collection isn't a bad place to start. Included are strong and tuneful renditions of Huddie's most popular songs, including "In New Orleans," "The Bourgeois Blues," "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," "Midnight Special," and of course, the immortal "Goodnight Irene." Also, the sound quality is pretty good, or at least better than some of the other Lead Belly compilations out there. My only complaint is that they included TWO versions of "John Hardy," when such standards as "Boll Weevil," "Yellow Gal," "Blue-Tailed Fly" and "Pick a Bale of Cotton" were left out. The music itself is flawless though. Five stars and then some.
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By A Customer on February 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This CD is sort of OK. It has some of the songs that Lead Belly is known for (i.e., "Goodnight Irene," "House of the Rising Sun"), but they aren't portrayed in a manner that says "Yes! This is a blues artist that could have inspired generations of folk, blues, and rock artists!"
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD deserves a good rating, so I'm coming to its rescue. John Hardy is a crucial element in the Americana songlist, and both versions are individually worthwhile and unique. I enjoy this CD every time I hear it, and I can't say that for many historical compilations. Leadbelly's vocals and sense of rhythm impress on every track.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These masters were recorded 1939-1944 and were originally issued on Musicraft, Asch, Stinson (Memorial Album, 1952), and, finally, Tradition (The Legend Of Leadbelly, 1970). During the CD era, these masters, often called the "Stinson" or "Tradition" masters, have been frequently grouped together when reissued - though, given the age of the recordings and Europe's loose copyright laws, that's kind of a moot point now.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
The recording was not, I'll admit, as good of clarity as the Last Sessions CD, but was better than most Highly reccomended for an intro to Leadbelly's work.
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