Folk-song collector John A. Lomax discovered Leadbelly in Louisiana’s Angola prison and masterminded the singer-guitarist’s 1935 introduction to the world (via New York), and their names have been linked ever since. This biographical tour de force by Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell pulsates with the confident energy that characterized the singer’s performances as the writers trace the volatile folk artist from his East Texas upbringing to his 1949 death in New York’s Bellevue Hospital. They take no shortcuts when presenting the complex life of the man who not only composed “Goodnight, Irene” but also committed murder.