From the "Leadbelly Unpardoned" thread in alt.folklore.urban:
(begin excerpt) Subject: Proto-UL: Leadbelly Unpardoned From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lars Eighner) Date: 1998/04/05 Message-ID:
In our last episode <email@example.com>, the lovely and talented firstname.lastname@example.org (James Nicoll) broadcast on alt.folklore.urban:
| As an April Fools Joke, a folkmusic paper/magazine |announced that Gov. Bush of Texas decided to unpardon |Leadbelly on the grounds that the Texas governor who |pardoned him over stepped his legal authority. Over on |r.a.m.f.,the announcement seemed to be taken at face |value so I predict in a few years, Leadbelly Unpardoned |will have joined Stan Rogers Dies Saving Passengers in |Cincinnati in folk music folklore.
The original piece ran in the March 27 issue of the The Texas Observer. The Texas Observer describes itself as "A Journal of Free Voices" and "The Tyrant's Foe; The People's Friend." It is not accurately described as a "folkmusic paper/magazine" but the story was picked up as fact by some publications which might fit that description.
That issue was the nearest to April 1, but the piece was supposed to be just another in a series of satires, not specifically an April Fools piece. The piece is datelined March 10. The satire was meant as commentary on Governor Bush's pious refusal to grant a reprieve to Karla Faye Tucker. It was only a matter of coincidence that The Texas Observer's first chance to comment on the execution came in the issue nearest April 1. (In the present, Texas Governors do not have the power to pardon and Bush could not have pardoned Karla Faye Tucker, but could have delayed her execution by 30 days.)