Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Once, many years ago, I’d be playing “Whoa Back, Buck” in my room and my mom would come rushing in and demand to know, “What did he just sing?” And I’d reply, “Um, Cunningham.” ’Cause, really, Leadbelly did have another version where the “expletive” he used was “Cunningham,” due no doubt to the producer’s mom rushing into the studio and demanding to know, “What did he just sing?!” To make things even more blasphemous, the Golden Gate Quartet gospel group backs ole Lead on the version heard here. 

Less controversially, “The Eagle Rocks,” featuring Leadbelly on piano and scatting vocals was recorded four years later out on the west coast; he also made an instrumental version at the same session called “Eagle Rock Rag.”

Up next, from the “Eagle Rocks” session, Leadbelly’s Christmas. . . .

Leadbelly • The Eagle Rocks • 1944

Leadbelly • Whoa Back, Buck • 1940

Find ’em: Huddie Ledbetter’s Best; Take This Hammer

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