IRENE * LEADBELLY * CAPITOL 1821 * UK
Recorded with Paul Howard on Zither and accompanying vocals at a session for Capitol Records in Hollywood on October 5th 1944, this version of Irene is more Country Blues than the recording he made a year earlier in New York during the summer of 1943 accompanied by Sonny Terry, that was released on Asch, (and subsequently Atlantic). This cut was released in the UK on the EP Huddie Ledbetter's Best (originally with company picture sleeve, now missing) in 1963 with three other tracks all from the early 1940s.
Irene, aka Goodnight Irene, was the song probably most associated with Leadbelly, it's a song he had been singing and playing since the earliest part of the 20th century. Born in 1888, and having spent two long periods in some of Americas most notorious prisons, Leadbelly never enjoyed much commercial success as a singer during his lifetime; yet the song Goodnight Irene was a million seller for the Folk group The Weavers in 1951 just two years after died.
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