It's Sunday, and Sunday is blues day! Today I've been listening to Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. He was born on 20 January 1889 and died on 6 December 1949. Here's his version of the traditional folk blues song Midnight Special, which many listeners will know from later covers by Little Richard, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival amongst others:
The 12-string guitar quickly became Lead Belly's signature instrument, but he was perfectly capable of playing other instruments too, including the harmonica, mandolin, piano and accordion, as evidenced by many of his recordings. Luckily, John and Alan Lomax toured the Mississippi delta in the 1930s and 40s on behalf of the Library of Congress to record many of the delta's black blues musicians, who were still mostly living and playing around the farms they'd been working on as field hands. The famous Library of Congress recordings also captured several cuts by Lead Belly on aluminum or acetate discs, including another great version of Midnight Special.
To round things up, here's the CCR version for comparison: