I have been listening to the album Lead Belly Sings for Children a lot recently. It is actually a great CD with a range of songs, a good way to introduce children to some classic children’s tunes, spirituals, blues, and a work song or two. When I listen though, what strikes me most is track 2, Boll Weevil.” It is clear from the introduction that Lead Belly the grizzled veteran singer who spent time in a Louisiana penitentiary, is playing on some kind of children’s show. The perky host asks if he knows any more songs like the one he just played, and then suggests “boll weevil” because she heard it was cute. Lead Belly then sings the song, a heartrending song about the collapse of agriculture with a final verse addressing the speaker’s own homeless status. This song and the whole album provides such a great example of cultural mixture as well as the odd dynamics of the blues and roots music revival. For a visual representation see the two images below.