Lead Belly

Alabama Bound [RCA]

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In its time, this was a fine little collection, containing 16 of the 26 sides that Leadbelly recorded for RCA's Bluebird label during June of 1940, eight of which feature the singer/guitarist working with the gospel group the Golden Gate Quartet. Not all of those link-ups work, as Leadbelly was a pretty substantial performing personality and didn't need the company, and the Golden Gate Quartet members don't always sound comfortable doing a brand of music that is more raw and earthy than the gospel-oriented songs they were accustomed to recording. Overall, however, these commercial recordings were among the best of Leadbelly's career and are worth tracking down. This CD was supplanted in 2003 by Take This Hammer, a better mastered compilation (with a richer sound) of the complete products of those recording sessions.

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