Lead Belly was a Blues musician extraordinaire, and often a troublemaker, regularly going to prison for various reasons in his lifetime. Although he achieved little chart topping and financial success during his lifetime, he was an accomplished singer and guitarist. He often played 12-string acoustic guitar, an instrument with double the strings on an average acoustic guitar. Moreover, he was very musically influential as well. This is a compilation of his early works from his career. Let’s take a listen to the music and see what we have here.

Irene (124-A-2) begins with some decent acoustic guitar playing and a load of tape hiss. This has a great Blues piece, with some great singing from Lead Belly himself. A nice and sweet devotional piece to hear, it is a miracle that this excellent music has lasted to this day. Fairly repetitive lyrically, this is a wonderful tune to hear regardless. A great song about pursuing a married lady, this is instantly excellent and definitely worth hearing. A really awesome and great tune to enjoy, and a nice three minute Blues symphony. A great tune to hear, it sounds like an amazing piece of music. Excellent.

Irene (124-B-1) is another version of this tune. It still is as fresh and lovely as the first one, all though it is merely a rehash. Still, Lead Belly does Blues wailing and guitar playing extremely well. Top notch music, although it only goes on for a minute.

Julie Ann Johnson (126-A-1) launches into a more upbeat and rhythmic tune to listen to. This is excellent music, provided you love minimalism. A really awesome and great listen, this is the sort of music that one would play in a boat with your beloved partner on a romantic getaway. A great and gorgeous musical listen, and a solidly excellent tune, through and through. Very catchy.

You Cain’ Loose-A-Me Cholly (126-A-2) begins with a slower tempo piece about the simple life and love for a lady. This is super short, but extraordinarily great listening. An awesome piece of enjoyable music from start to finish. Lead Belly kicks the proverbial very well here.

Take A Whiff On Me (126-A-3) is a longer piece with some more intricate guitar playing present. A great and awesome quality two-minute-long song, this is an album of musical history for those who lack an attention span beyond five minutes in length for a song. Lead Belly sounds amazing here, singing and playing his heart out here. A very enjoyable tune from a far simpler time, this is extremely wonderful listening. The meaning of this song is weird, but this is good listening anyway. Great job.

Mr Tom Hughes’ Town (236-B-3) launches straight into a piece with busy strummed acoustic guitar and wordless harmonies. Lead Belly quickly launches into a great and awesome piece of singing and strumming that is one of the better listens from this compilation. All the same, this strange piece of music works well. A great two minute long piece of music that is like a pocket symphony. A forward thinking and wonderful piece of music to listen to, this is good music for the ears and soul. The outro has some manic acoustic guitar playing, and Lead Belly sings repeatedly, “Lord, have mercy”. Great effort.

Julie Ann Johnson (239-A-3) begins with another interpretation of a staple tune about a lady who lived long ago. Lead Belly plays and sings well here, despite the tape hiss. Less than a minute long, however.

Julie Ann Johnson (240-A-4) is another version of the song before it, begins with some more interesting guitar playing and singing, taking us back to the era of Steamboat Willy in black and white. Another good music outtake here.

Julie Ann Johnson (242-B-3) is another very shortrendition musically with some cheerful playing and clear singing from Lead Belly. A catchy, short and superb Blues number to enjoy, this is a great compilation to hear the Blues. The tape is rather warped in pitch, but the performance is excellent. Great music.

Boll Weevil (273-A-1) begins with some great acoustic guitar strumming and playing, with Lead Belly singing in its own inimitable way. There are some recorded vocal overdubs on this piece, and it is over after a minute. Excellent work.

Julie Ann Johnson (250-B-2) is a longer rendition of this original piece. Lead Belly makes a fine and fantastic piece of music come alive on this cut, and his singing and playing are marvellous. All in all, this is a great and majestic tune that sounds really awesome and terrific musically. A great cut from nearly 100 years ago (at the time of writing), Lead Belly was a fantastic musician. Period. This is great to hear, even today. An awesome listen.

Dance Calls (252-A-1) features Sloan Wright. It is a live recording and has some clapping to match it. A tremendous effort by Lead Belly and company, this is sensationally awesome music that deserves some praise throughout. An awesome piece of listening, this is proof that history, even with music, is incredibly important. A great and simply catchy tune with breezy guitar playing, throaty singing and matching handclaps, this is a winner. Another solidly great effort, a great two-and-a-half minute song.

Salty Dog (45-B) begins with clanging open acoustic guitar playing that sounds really cool. Lead Belly sings about being a “salty dog”, which is a bit of an oddity really. Still, this is a great listen musically and it never wears out its welcome over its three plus minutes here. A great and refreshing listen, often consumed by tape hiss, this is an outstanding effort. Lead Belly does well here. A very enjoyable and upbeat tune to hear, this sounds incredibly awesome. Worth your time and ears. Very, very enjoyable. A great piece of music from start to finish.

Thirty Days In The Workhouse (53-B) begins with some lovely upbeat and excellent sounding guitar that is played very well. Lead Belly eventually gets singing, although the mix has his vocals swallowed up a little from tape hiss. A really great piece of music likely based on some personal experiences. An adventurous and enjoyable piece of music that is nearly four minutes long, Lead Belly sings about having regrets in prison. A simple, yet very enjoyable piece of music. Very good to hear, this is great Blues music. An interesting take on the form of Blues, Lead Belly’s music stands the test of time. A really excellent listen. It ends with some speedy guitar.

Ella Speed (54-A) begins with some nicely strummed acoustic guitar playing, which is full of energy. Lead Belly gets singing well here, and his music takes one’s mind elsewhere. A really awesome tune that sounds like a very old-school tale of adventures, this is a must listen for the Blues purist. Simple, melodic, acoustic and beautiful, Lead Belly did make some fantastic music during his lifetime. A thoroughly good piece of music and musicality, this sounds thoroughly excellent for acoustic Blues music. This is very simple music with some tape hiss and warping of the sound, but it still works extremely well to this day. Very wonderful music, and an adventure through time. A great adventure from a long time ago, set to music. A fine tune, worth five minutes of your time to hear.

C.C. Rider is a joyous tune, with some interesting slide guitar to match. It is a very enjoyable listen and is matched by Lead Belly’s awesome vocals. This is an interesting piece of music that still sounds resounding great today. A thoroughly enjoyable and listenable piece of music, Lead Belly was a pioneer of early Blues music. All the same, this is an awesome piece of music to hear and should be covered elsewhere at some point. There is an extended outro with loads of slide guitar soloing, and this wraps up after three minutes. Nice.

You Can’t Lose Me, Charlie is another three minute long piece without slide guitar this time, just Lead Belly singing and strumming here. This is an excellent and listenable piece of songcraft, and Lead Belly sings about religious concepts here, namely from Christianity. All the same, this is a very awesome tune to hear and appreciate. Simple music from a much simpler time, this is a good tale from the distant past which is very amazing. A great and interesting listening experience, this has some very proto-The Beatles guitar work on it. A great song about problems and religion, this works well. Good effort.

New Black Snake Moan is a Blind Lemon Jefferson reference. After some introductory guitar strumming, Lead Belly launches into a powerful and interesting tune that has a fantastic piece of storytelling, set to singing and acoustic guitar. Both older Blues fans and newer generations of listeners will find this music appealing. It just works extremely well for its simplicity. A fantastic performance about sexual desire, this is an interesting and eventful tune to hear. A great piece of music to take the mind wandering elsewhere, this certainly works well. A very awesome tune.

Alberta is an area in Canada, for those of you who do not know. It begins with some simple acoustic guitar playing and melodies that are awesome. Lead Belly sings about that place he longs to go to. This is another excellent three minute long tune that sounds excellent. A fine and fantastic piece of music that works extremely well, it does have lyrics and music set to a Canadian adventure. The singing and guitar playing are top-notch here, and this tune is wonderful. A fantastic listen with a load of great guitar playing towards the end here. Very awesome Blues music.

Baby, Don’t You Love Me No More? is a very traditional 12 Bar Blues piece. Just under three minutes in length, this is another quintessential listening experience that sounds enjoyable listening, despite it being about relationships and heartbreak. A fine and fantastic piece of music regardless, this is an old-school tale of delightful listening. A fine and listenable tune, this does take one’s imagination to the matter at hand. Great to hear, this is another fine listen. Enjoyable.

Death Letter Blues – Part 1 (Take 1) begins with some straightforward acoustic guitar playing which is different. Lead Belly then launches into some singing that sounds high and clear. It is a plea to a lover to return back to oneself, despite some stuff going down in this scenario. Another interesting and decent piece of music with some frenetic acoustic guitar strumming, this sounds fantastic for what it is. A very good listen, this still maintains a great musical impression, nearly a century later after this was recorded. Some cool acoustic guitar progressions are near the end, which add some flavour to the song. Excellent.

Death Letter Blues – Park 2 (Take 1) is a continuation of the previous track. The guitar playing is refreshingly interesting, once again. With acoustic guitar clanging away and some simply great singing, one need not hear anything else here. Simple music from a simple time, this does work nicely. A messed up lyrical tale with the Blues playing away nicely, this is another very good effort. There is some neat guitar playing throughout which sounds powerful. A very listenable and refreshing tune. This eventually ends after three minutes and is totally worth your time.

Kansas City Papa (Take 1) begins with pretty guitar playing that is a bit more midtempo before Lead Belly sings about travelling to this city, which is in the USA. Obviously, Lead Belly travelled quite a lot during his lifetime. The music present is solidly enjoyable to hear, and it does not disappoint. A very nice tune, this is worth your time and ears. Fine listening, this does justice and wonders. An excellent song to hear, this is as good as it was back in the time of release during the Great Depression. Awesome music.

Red River Blues is a slowly strummed and gentle music piece. It is very danceable and lively sounding. Soon enough, Lead Belly sings the Blues very well, showing his unique skills off in an amazing way. Lead Belly was a masterful musical genius, and his influence and music shine bright today. A really awesome tune about more relationship issues, this has a very good flow feel to it. A solo section with some intense strumming is here before the singing resumes. A very wonderful song to enjoy, and an impressive musical timewarp is here. Great work man.

My Friend Blind Lemon is an ode to Lead Belly’s friend Blind Lemon Jefferson. It begins with some interesting slide guitar playing which sounds very good on an acoustic guitar. A wonderful tune that sounds very descriptive and lyrical, and is supported by a great piece of music throughout. A good listen, although this is quite a lengthy album for such simple tunes. Still, Lead Belly does a great job for a piece of music here. Lead Belly hollers here away nicely, and the tune is another good cut about misadventures. It ends with some nice acoustic guitar harmonics.

Mr Tom Hughes’ Town has quite a lot of tape hiss here and is a repeat of the tune from earlier on in the album. Singing about navigating a town in Louisiana, Lead Belly makes a good storytelling tune come alive. Lead Belly surely is an underrated musician to this day. This is a very catchy and enjoyable piece of music to listen to. Simple, fast, beautiful and melodic, Lead Belly does a very good job musically. All in all, a really amazing piece of music that sounds top. Lead Belly articulates Blues music very, very well. Some hummed harmonies are here as well. A very good listen.

Matchbox Blues begins with some interesting slide guitar playing, which is nicely melodic. A great and interesting piece about marital troubles, this is another good Blues music piece that works very well. A weird listening experience that works very well, it is a good tune for what it is. Great music to listen to, this is a short piece of music that is driven by lyrics. A nice, strong effort overall. This sounds really nice. Good music, as we approach the end of this album.

Bull Cow is the last song on this compilation. It is very slow tempo-wise and has Lead Belly singing nicely over the top of it all. He sounds wonderful and marvellous to listen to on this album, and the tune again is really very good. Lead Belly deserves a lot of credit for songs such as these, and there is a vocal harmony instead of an overdubbed guitar solo on this tune. Worth your time, this is a unique and interesting listen. There is a pseudo-Surf Music solo in the midsection here, and this quickly wraps up after under three minutes in length. Excellent.

This compilation is a must for anyone who either likes Blues music, Acoustic music or both of these genres. Lead Belly had a disrupted life due to his time in prison, yet he still managed to deliver some amazing music during his lifetime. There are other compilations in this series as well which will be interesting to observe. Should you hear this album? Yes, especially if you are deeply old-fashioned with music or curious about musical history. This is a winner.

Excellent and finely crafted songs.