Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was a unique figure in the American popular music of the 20th century. Ultimately, he was best remembered for a body of songs that he discovered, adapted, or wrote, including “Goodnight, Irene,” “Rock Island Line,” “The Midnight Special,” and “Cotton Fields.”

But he was also an early example of a folksinger whose background had brought him into direct contact with the oral tradition by which folk music was handed down, a tradition that, by the early years of the century, already included elements of commercial popular music.

Because he was an African-American, he is sometimes viewed as a blues singer, but blues (a musical form he actually predated) was only one of the styles that informed his music. He was a profound influence on folk performers of the 1940s such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who in turn influenced the folk revival and the development of rock music from the 1960s onward, which makes his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, early in the hall’s existence, wholly appropriate.


01 Fannin Street
02 I’ve A Pretty Flowers
03 Easy Rider
04 Bull Cow
05 Dekalb Blues
06 New York City
07 Mother’s Blues
08 Tell Me Baby
09 Sweet Mary Blues
10 Bourgeois Blues
11 My Friend Blind Lemon
12 Good Morning Blues
13 Gallis Pole
14 Outskirts Of Town
15 Grasshoppers In My Pillow
16 Scottsboro Blues
17 Sail On Little Girl, Sail On
18 Don’t You Love You Daddy No More
19 Where Did You Sleep Last Night
20 How Long
21 Looky Looky Yonder

Leadbelly – Easy Rider
(256 kbps, cover art included)