Lesley Riddle Photo

Lesley Riddle

Born: Jun 13, 1905

Death: Jul 13, 1980

Birthplace: Burnsville

Profession: Musician

Nationality: United States

Lesley Riddle

Date of Birth : Jun 13, 1905
Date of Death : Jul 13, 1980
Birth Place : Burnsville

Lesley "Esley" Riddle was an African-American musician whose influence on the Carter Family helped to shape country music. Riddle was born in Burnsville, North Carolina. He grew up with his paternal grandparents near Kingsport, Tennessee, not far from the Virginia border. While working as a young man at a cement plant, he tripped on an auger. The resulting injury entailed the amputation of his right leg at the knee. While he recovered, he took up the guitar, developing an innovative picking and slide technique. Soon, he was collaborating with other musicians from Sullivan and Scott counties, including Steve Tarter, Harry Gay, Brownie McGhee and John Henry Lyons. One time, he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at Tarter's house. In 1928, Riddle met A.P. Carter, who had just founded the Carter Family country band. Riddle began to divide his time between Kingsport and the Carter home in Maces Spring, Virginia. Riddle and Carter embarked on song-collecting trips around the region: Riddle would act as a "human tape recorder," memorizing the melody while Carter gathered lyrics.


  • Musician

Also known as

  • Riddle, Lesley
  • Leslie Riddle
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