Not the hurricane, the song!

The recording you just listened to – you did click on the link and listen to it, didn’t you?!? – was recorded in New York City, circa August 1943, by Moe Asch. It features Lead Belly singing and playing his 12-string guitar with harmonica accompaniment by Sonny Terry.

This recording of “Irene” was the first commercial release of the song, originally issued in a 78 rpm album entitled Songs by Lead Belly on Asch Records.

It is currently available on the CD Where Did You Sleep Last Night? from Smithsonian/Folkways. This collection is volume 1 of the 3 volume Lead Belly Legacy series of reissues of the Lead Belly/Moe Asch recordings.

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2 Responses to Irene

  1. TPS says:

    What a great song….!
    I love reading the history of Lead Belly’ life. Here is a man who had so many obstacles in his way, who lived hard. And yet within him are songs such as “Irene”, While he never really had an “easy” life, chance encounters and a little luck gave him the opportunity to rise above prison and a violent past to become a folk/blues icon.

  2. sinclakr says:

    i kept singing/thinking about this song as hurricane irene was approaching us here on eleuthera! literally, goodnight irene, since she hit us in the middle of the night 🙂

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