More than any other black folk-blues artist of his time Leadbelly helped expose his race's vast musical riches to white America, and, in the process, helped preserve a folk legacy that has become a significant part of the nation's musical treasury. He was not a blues singer in the traditional sense; he also sang spirituals, pop, field and prison hollers, cowboy and childrens songs, dance tunes and folk ballads, and of course his own topical compositions. It has been said his repertoire was at least 500 songs. He never saw any commercial success during his lifetime. Not until after his death did a broader public come to know his songs and the amazing story of his life.