Blues Then and Now - The History of the Blues (Chapter 7, page 2 of 5)


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Chapter 7

Field recordings gave a clearer description of the mood and feelings of the blacks as they were singing what they were enduring. Gellert would search out his discoveries in the chain‑gangs where the singers would search out his discoveries in the chain-gangs where the singers would chant about protest and hardships of their mistreatments by the white guards. "Down in the Chain-Gang" was recorded by an unknown singer on Heritage Label in 1924 by Gellert with the lyrics describing the singer's dilemma.

Robert W Gordon., the first field recording administrator for the Library of Congress recorded "Glory to God My Son's Come Home" in 1926. Gordon's recording interest was the work songs, ragtime, spirituals and gospels and had very little regard for the blues. In 1933, he was removed from his position and replaced by John A. Lomax as curator. John, along with his son Alan traveled the southern states and made numerous blues recordings. His first stop was at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Huddie Ledbetter, A.K.A. Ledbetter provided a number of songs for Lomax to record. With his 12 string guitar, Leadbelly sang some ballads, like, "Ella Speed," "Becky Deem. She Was A Gamblin' Gal" and "Frankie and Albert" which was later changed to "Frankie and Johnny." Leadbelly boasted that he was the "King of the twelve-string guitar player of the world." He recorded his biggest hit "Good Morning Blues" for the Bluebird Label in 1940.

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