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Artist Details

Date Born/Group Began: January 20, 1889 (I B Emerson) 
Date Died/Group Ended: December 6, 1949 (I B Emerson) 
Also Known As:
Huddie William Ledbetter (I B Emerson)
American Folk Blues Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist. Musician from childhood, Leadbelly played accordion, 6 and 12-string guitar, bass and harmonica. He led a wandering life, learning songs by absorbing oral tradition. (I B Emerson)
  • In 1918 he was inprisoned for murder, after serving six years, he was paradoned by the Governor of Texas, who had visited the prison an heard him sing. (I B Emerson)
  • Was imprisoned for attempted murder in 1930 in the Angola, Louisiana prison farm. There he was discovered by the folklorists John and Alan Lomax, who were collecting songs for the Library of Congress. A campaign spearheaded by the Lomaxes secured his release in 1924 and he embarked on a concert tour of eastern colleges. (I B Emerson)
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