Robert Johnson – King Of The Delta Blues Singers

Robert JohnsonNo matter how much you simply want to talk about music, the story (or legend) or Robert Johnson is too fascinating to let pass. After the death of his wife, the you Robert Johnson desperately wanted to be a blue guitar player, despite a considerable lack of skill. After being taunted by local blues players (amongst them the ledendary Son House and Charley Patton), Johnson drifted throughout Mississippi and returned a year later. His amazing skill with the guitar led people to believe that he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a gift for the instrument. He died a few years later (at the age of 27), poisoned at the hands of a jealous lover.

Johnson’s legacy was huge; often cited as a big influence on British R&B guitarists in the ’60s (Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck), Johnson went onto influence music all the way to modern bands like the White Stripes and Black Keys. Listening to the music now is a real experience; the crackle and hiss of the recordings, the terrible visions of judgement day and the simple et expressive guitar playing.

Although these songs have been extensively remastered (once in the 60’s, again in 1998), there is still some distortion. On the track “Terraplain Blues”, theres some fuzziness to the vocals but it’s not too distracting. The real joy is hearing “Hellhound On My Tail”; if Johnson didn’t sell his soul to the devil, then he shouldn’t sound so afraid as he does on this track. Considering his musical output was so minimal, everything he recorded has been released (a 90’s, 2CD compilation containing every song he recorded sold over a million copies, the first blues album to do so), his legacy and influence on modern music is assured.

Robert Johnson – Hellhound On My Tail ( a collection of stills, including the two only known photos of Robert Johnson):

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