Lesley “Esley” Riddle is probably one of the most influential people in county music’s early days whom you have never heard of.
Perhaps it is because he was black in a world dominated by whites. Perhaps it was because he was disfigured, losing a leg in his mid-teens in an accident and later two fingers from a shotgun blast.
Born in Burnsville in Yancey County in 1905, he was known both for his music and songs. Lots of his songs were made famous by the Carter Family; he even sold them rights for a song about an artificial leg.