Revenge and lawlessness are the cornerstones of TMSAOSPS, a collection of now standardised folk songs reflecting destitution in rural America after the turn of the century. A voice of steel and soul, Lead Belly’s performances are at once harmoniously fragile and bleakly merciless. He lived a blues fantasy: a murderous outlaw in and out of incarceration singing prison songs in front of guards and convicts alike. Nothing Lead Belly describes in his music is sensationalised. If his haunting voice and trudging 12-string sound as though they were sung for his fellow prisoners and echoed by the chain-gang, it’s because they were.
A favourite: ‘The Midnight Special’