Polly Wolly Wee by Leadbelly on Throwback Thursday

This classic was submitted by member Katy Hobgood Ray of Confetti Park.

Katy with her Leadbelly
Katy with the Friends of Lead Belly

This is Polly Wolly Wee, also known as the Frog Song, recorded by Leadbelly long ago.

I grew up in Shreveport where there is a statue of Huddie Ledbetter standing in front of the public library in downtown on Texas Street. Huddie Ledbetter spent his early days of his career hustling in the red light district of shreveport. “Fannin Street Blues” alludes to that era of his life.

I am part of a group of Louisiana musicians who gather around his grave every October to sing his songs. We call ourselves the “Friends of Leadbelly” and this October will be the 25th year we hold our informal gathering.

Leadbelly started singing to children later in his career, so of course I have plumbed his recordings since I myself have become a children’s musician. I have listened to a lot of Leadbelly but I think I love the Smithsonian Folkways compilation “Leadbelly Sings for Children” most. This particular song has such a pleasant vibe to it. He does not have call and response on it but that’s what the song creates… I just can’t help but respond to him and I’ve had a good time re-creating it with my children’s choir, the Confetti Park Players.

This is a cover featuring myself and the Players.