Mudcat Café message #423600 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8912   Message #423600
Posted By: toadfrog
22-Mar-01 - 06:49 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Goodnight Irene
Subject: RE: Goodnight Irene Origin
There was an NPR program about Huddie Ledbetter where this was discussed at some length, although I have forgotten the name. He did not originate "Goodnight Irene," although there is no doubt in my mind that his version was an enormous improvement over the original popular song. The story went, he made it his theme song because he did not like the tough guy image Lomax foisted on him (guy with the bandana sitting on a bale of hay) and wanted to show he was capable of real sentiment. As in fact he was.

A whole lot of popular songs from the 50's were not attributed to their real authors. Like "Freight Train." "Kisses Sweeter than Wine," which the Weavers popularized, is a sappy version of Leadbelly's rendition of an old Irish balad. The Leadbelly version is called "If it wasn't for Dicky," (Library of Congres, issued on a Rounder CD.) The recording is rough, but the song is MAGNIFICENT.