Bridging Lead Belly connects two Leadbelly recording sessions. The first is 12 tracks recorded for the BBC in 1938. The final five selections come from a 1946 live recording. Leadbelly is a master of the acoustic country-blues. We hear this on the yodeling of "I'm Goin' Mother" that he shares the same roots with another rural tradition, that of the "singing cowboy." Beside such melancholy ballads, there are hearty tracks full of pep such as "Boll Weevil" and "(Baby) Take a Whiff on Me." The live recording is from a house party. A real gem in this section is "Frankie and Albert." Here Leadbelly elaborates to great length on the relationship. He does this -- to the point where it becomes part soap opera and part social drama -- of these two mythical figures of the blues.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte