Lead Belly

Negro Folk Songs for Young People

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Leadbelly's repertoire for children did not differ all that much from what he played for general audiences, as this compilation makes clear, although he did stress songs that were easy to sing along with. He had faith that kids could appreciate numbers that were a little more sophisticated than the usual nursery rhyme-type schemes -- an approach from which many other children's music performers could learn. "Rock Island Line," "Boll Weevil," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "John Henry" are among the better-known selections here, although they don't overshadow less standard tunes like "We're in the Same Boat, Brother." The material from this album has been reissued as part of the Smithsonian Folkways CD Sings for Children, a recommended alternative to the original LP, as it more than doubles the length of the album with other kid-friendly performances that Moses Asch recorded by Leadbelly in the 1940s.

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