We continue our way through the life of Leadbelly in Part 4. In this episode we see Leadbelly make a plea for a pardon with his music, and watch as he tries adjusting to life outside of prison. As hard as he tries starting life anew, he finds himself once again behind bars, this time in Angola, known as the Alcatraz of the South, one of the bloodiest prisons in US history.

 

We finally meet John Lomax and his son Allen who would become key figures in Leadbelly’s life as they traveled the South searching for American folk music to preserve for the Library of Congress. We clear up some Leadbelly myth with primary sources, learn a bit about the earliest attempts at musical preservation through recording, and even get to hear a 130-year-old Passamaquoddy war song recorded by anthropologist Jesse Walker Fewkes.

The adventure continues.

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