Music Mondays: You shall be free, We shall be free, I shall be free

From a truly wonderful blog, The Old Weird America:

The 17th of October 1928, in Johnston City, Tennessee, Mr and Mrs Reed recorded one session for Columbia. They were probably coming from the nearby regions of Virginia or Kentucky along with other people coming to record this day. Like many before and after them, they would go back to their regulary life, after having fixed their home-made folk music on disc for posterity…

bigleadbelly-Apart from their version of “The old lady and the devil” that was included on the Anthology, i know of only one other side from them. It’s called “You shall be free” , which will become “We shall be free” interpreted by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and “I shall be free” with Bob Dylan’s version…

So, here they are:

1.You Shall be free by Bill & Belle Reed MP3

2.We shall be free by Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly (from  ”The Original Vision” on Folkways) MP3

3.I shall be free by Bob Dylan  (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob DylanMP3

Listening to this three tracks side by side , it revealed before me the great picture of american folk music on record, the three generations that shaped its tradition. First, you have the “real folks”, people that were recorded in the twenties and thirties, but carried with them a long oral tradition that predates the recording industry. Then came Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, the two greatest figures of the folk movement of the forties, that was more involved with social issues and politics, already on the marge of the recording industry and “popular music”. And finally, you have Bob Dylan and the “folk revival” of the fifties and sixties, that reflects the heritage of what came before him and represented the new conscience of young people in America and all over the world in search of an alternative  to the mass-entertainement culture and an authentic tradition to hang on to.

Hoping that one day, You, We, I shall be free…

Here’s Woody and Leadbelly. This was one of the songs I was brought up on:

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Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 11:05 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. [...] Deportees; Our Humanly Race; Stalinist songs of the Spanish Civil War (scroll down); Jesus Christ; We Shall Be Free; Vigilante Man; Hobo’s [...]

  2. [...] Deportees; Our Humanly Race; Stalinist songs of the Spanish Civil War (scroll down); Jesus Christ; We Shall Be Free; Vigilante Man; Hobo’s [...]


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