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Lead Belly

Lomax, John A. and Alan Lomax, Editors.
Negro Songs as Sung by Lead Belly “King of the Twelve-String Guitar Players of the World,”
Long-time Convict in the Penitentiaries of Texas and Louisiana.

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936. 1st edition. 242 pages. Hardcover in dustjacket.
Book has two bumped corners and part of a prior owner’s bookplate affixed to the front pastedown
(the bookplate is torn and the portion removed corresponds to the area where the owner’s name had been written). Overall, the book is VERY GOOD. Dustjacket has some edge chips and tears with some loss of paper at the bottom of the spine and at the upper right corner of the front panel; spine is sunned, some age-spotting.
Overall, the dustjacket is GOOD. $875

Lead Belly made music from the time he was a “leetle bitty thing” growing up near Shreveport, Louisiana. He could play the accordion, bass-fiddle, guitar, mouth-harp, and piano but the twelve string guitar was his favorite and he considered himself the “king” of it. A creative genius, Lead Belly lived a hard life. His throat was cut ear to ear and his left cheek cut wide open in a brawl. He was convicted of murder and spent twelve years on penitentiary farms. Legend says he sang himself out of prison after which time he was discovered by Alan and John Lomax who took him to New York. In this book, Lead Belly’s story is told in terms of “tunes, text, and guitar accompaniments”. It also contains biographical material as well as song annotations in Lead Belly’s own words.

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