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Almeda Riddle

One would be hard pressed to track down recorded examples of Almeda Riddle's singing, but the hunt would be well worth it since she possessed one of the strongest voices ever put to wax. Born in 1898, Riddle spent her entire life in rural Arkansas, where she learned an extensive repertoire of ballads, traditional religious songs, and children's songs from her father, a hard working lumber salesman who was a descendant of the infamous James Gang. In addition to selling timber, J.L. James also worked as a singing teacher, benefiting his daughter's talent greatly. Riddle's voice grew into a strong and powerful instrument, and she often sang for friends and family. It's unlikely that the world at large would have ever heard her voice had Riddle not been discovered by folklorist Alan Lomax on one of his many trips to the rural South in the late ‘50s. On the ensuing Atlantic Records release, Southern Folk Heritage Series, Riddle's powerful voice and unique versions of traditional songs made her a standout and led her to a solo album on the Vanguard label in 1966. In the ‘70s, Riddle recorded two successive albums for Rounder Records and performed at many fairs and folk festivals until her death. ~ Steve Kurutz
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Alan Lomax Collection: Southern Journey: Bad Man Ballads, Vol. 5

1. Jesse James

2. Po' Lazarus

3. Railroad Bill

4. John Henry

5. Willie Brennan

6. Hangman Tree

7. Columbus Stockade

11. Claude Allen

12. Cole Younger

14. Tom Devil

15. Hawkins County Jail

x

Track List: Friends Of Old Time Music

1. Double File

2. Hicks' Farewell

3. Soldier's Joy

4. Claude Allen

5. Monday Morning Blues

6. Pallet On The Floor

7. Chick-A-La-Lee-O

8. Come All Ye Tender Hearted

9. Little Birdie

10. Rabbit In The Log

11. Dark Holler Blues

12. What Did I Do To Be So Black And Blue?

13. Mistreated Mama Blues

14. Hook And Line

15. Pretty Fair Miss All In A Garden

16. He's Coming In Glory Some Day

Comments

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The more I listen to this; the more I want to listen to it again
Report as inappropriate
Fantastic, amazing tonal quality and cadence of voice. Very hauntingly lilting.

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