Lead Belly

Cry for Me

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Leadbelly rarely wrote a complete original, but when he did the results could often be tremendous. Take "Cry For Me," known best for its appearance on the Leadbelly's Last Sessions recordings, in which Leadbelly reflects on his mother's anguished reactions to his constant visits to the legendary Fannin Street, where he first fell in love with the blues scene. The lyrics are deliciously amusing -- wrought with the clever tongue-in-cheek confessions of a juvenile delinquent -- but are nonetheless overshadowed by some of the best playing in the master's recorded career. Leadbelly was quite a storyteller regardless of whose story he was telling, and in this case, he was telling his own, and the resulting product is nothing short of remarkable. "Cry For Me" is worth the listen for the music alone, which contains some of Leadbelly's best jamming on tape which, of course, takes nothing away from the lyrics. This is a good-time, rebel-rousing, shake-em-up number, and it is living proof that, even in the final years of his life, Leadbelly was as brilliantly entertaining as ever.