Lead Belly Discography: Updates

The single features take „SC-261“, not take „SC-261-1“

There have been some updates to my Lead Belly Discography. Some inconsistencies were found concerning the «Irene»-versions from the session from July or August 1943, with the call numbers «SC-261-1» and «SC-261» (both found on DOCD-5227) and an alleged «Irene»-version from the session «ca. February 1947», on DOCD-5568.

I thank Tim Dickinson for pointing out the irregularities.

The new and rectified situation is this: The «Irene»-version «SC-261-1» (with Sonny Terry on harp who is not «SC-261») is found on DOCD-5227, DOCD-5568 and SFW 40201. All discographical information points to this take being from the «July or August 1943» session. Confusion arises because DOCD-5568 claims February 1947 as a recording date for a lot of takes that are in fact from 1941 or 1943, respectively. These informations seem largely false, criticized by professional discographers. There is no «Irene»-version from February 1947 (as DOCD-5568 claims).

Although being the identical take, the «Irene»-version on DOCD-5227 is longer than the tracks on DOCD-5568 and SFW 40201 – this is because the latter are being faded out while the track on DOCD-5227 has a doctored, artificially enlengthend ending.

This detail raises are larger point: It will be necessary to go through all of the tracks on DOCD-5568, because the information there seems incorrect to a degree that we’ll have to identify each track aurally, through comparative close listening. These mistakes have been known for years, judging by Fancourt/McGrath’s discography The Blues Discography 1943–1970 (2006), but the Document Records-website still touts this as an «undiscovered session» from 1947. I’m also interested to know why DOCD-5227 includes a doctored version of otherwise available takes. The Document Records label usually didn’t operate like this.

Along with these changes, I made several other minor corrections that are part of the process; I won’t line them out here.

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