The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131081 Message #2954133
Posted By: Don Firth
28-Jul-10 - 07:51 PM
Thread Name: Who's THE most over-rated 'legend'?
Subject: RE: Who's THE most over-rated 'legend'?
Well, re: Robert Johnson and Leadbelly and other such early singer-guitarists, they were the ones who showed the way. Others, coming along later, learned from these "legends" and some managed to go on to exceed their skills.
Let's put it this way: compared to a 747 or a modern jet fighter, the first "aeroplane" that flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903 wasn't much of an aircraft. But it showed that it could be done!!
I had a friend (dead now) who heard Leadbelly live at one of the Swarthmore College folk festivals back in the late 1940s. He said that, on stage, in front of a audience, nattily dressed in his bow tie and dark pinstripe suit, Leadbelly was like a Force of Nature!
This same friend once heard someone putting Leadbelly down in much the same way the OP is doing. My friend remarked, "That guy, criticizing Leadbelly like that, doesn't know what the hell he's talking about! He's like a Chihuahua yapping at a lion!"
P. S. Now there is one well-known singer from the Sixties whom many people frequenting this web site seem to regard as some kind of god. But all things considered, I'm of the opinion that he's grossly overrated. Wrote a few good songs (stole some others and claimed they were his--this is documented), phony as a three-dollar bill (made up a whole fictional personal background), and can't sing for sour applesauce (based on a good ear and sound musical judgment). In addition to this, he was notorious for having walked all over people who had helped him early on.
But not wanting to be stoned in the streets by his legion of worshippers, I'll leave that for your speculation.