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Old 12-12-2011, 03:34 PM   #61 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SIRIUSB View Post
Here are a few facts behind Robert Johnson as they were told to me by Honeyboy Edwards
The devil at the crossroads myth is older than Johnson, Skip James, Petie Wilson, Tommy Johnson, and other older delta musicians already used this schtick, so it was something that Johnson embraced as a gimmick.

He left the area for over a year and when he returned he had become much better, more likely due to practicing and gigging around other parts, but who knows, the devil works in mysterious way!

Every one of Johnsons songs can be traced to older songs, unfortunately Robert wasn't as original as we give him credit for . . . but he did develop a very cool fingerstyle way of playing.
I doubt that Robert Johnson ever played any of his songs in the exact same way whenever he performed, since the blues, especially the Delta Blues in the 30s relied on emphasis more so, than any kind of prior formal musical arrangement before doing a show. This is only my opinion of course, and you would more than likely, be more versed on the subject than I am SIRIUSB.

I guess I'm trying to find some solid ground for originality. Whats your opinion?
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:36 PM   #62 (permalink)
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I never thought Johnson was all that original. It's not like he invented the blues. However, as you said, he did develop a great fingerstyle technique, and that is what always stood out to me.

I believe it was you, necromancer, that said something about his lyrics. Ive read that his lyrics have been studied at some university, possibly the university of Virginia. Do you know anything about this?

Last edited by blastingas10; 12-12-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:40 PM   #63 (permalink)
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I never thought Johnson was all that original. It's not like he invented the blues. However, as you said, he did develop a great fingerstyle technique, and that is what has always stood out to me.
It's becoming increasingly hard to be original in music these days. It seems that many of the ideas for new music are already being explored, and being innovative and original now seems to involve taking an existing style and develop in it in a different way, like "Nevermind" by Nirvana for example. Not that the sound was completely unheard of, but the style of music had never been explored in such a popular way.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:52 PM   #64 (permalink)
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I never thought Johnson was all that original. It's not like he invented the blues. However, as you said, he did develop a great fingerstyle technique, and that is what has always stood out to me.
I don't think anyone is trying to suggest that Robert Johnson invented the blues, which would be completely ridiculous if they did. But I do think there is more to his music than just a unique finger style technique. Are his lyrics the same lyrics the blues artist before him used? Blues relies on emphasizing, especially 70 some odd years ago. I personally would have to be convinced by more than just a few personal opinions concerning the originality and innovation of Johnson's talent before I would suggest or believe that he is overrated. I have actually listened to his music in depth.

And I personally hear the same thing Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Page, just to mention a few have heard, Genius.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:07 PM   #65 (permalink)
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I don't think anyone is trying to suggest that Robert Johnson invented the blues, which would be completely ridiculous if they did. But I do think there is more to his music than just a unique finger style technique. Are his lyrics the same lyrics the blues artist before him used?
Oh no, Johnson's lyrics (most of them) were very creative and introduced many magickal themes and references to Vodoun, which I am certain he picked up from his many female acquaintances!
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:16 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Here is a short piece that describes the myth behind the devil at the crossroads. It explains the myth much better than I could personally.

The crossroads is a place loaded with superstitions and stories. Back in the days before the automobile and paved highways, people traveled dirt roads through the wilderness and bayous either on horseback or by foot. The pace of the journey was generally slow and often caused the mind to wander in the trees and shrubs. In a way travelers were much more vulnerable. They did not have the safety of their cars or road side phones to call for help. And as darkness fell, I'm sure that all of the superstitions and stories of evil devoured their consciousness.

Many countries such as the European countries, India, Greece and Japan, as well as people such as the American Indians, subscribed to the superstitions and folk tales of the crossroads. At these intersections, demons, evil spirits, ghosts, Kobolds and fairies were found. It is a burial place for suicides and murderers and a dump heap for parricides. The crossroads is a rendezvous for witches who use this place for Sabbat rituals. Sacrifices were offered to the gods to protect humans from the evil which lurked here.

Legba is a trickster deity and god of entrances and crossroads. He is part of the belief systems of blacks of Dutch Guina, Brazil, Trinidad, Cuba and the voodoo cult of Haiti and New Orleans. In the new world, Legba goes about in tatters and he functions in cult rituals "to open the way" for the gods to possess their devotees. For this reason his songs are sung first at all rites. In the new world syncretism he is often equated with the devil. With this information, we can assume that when Robert Johnson made his claim of meeting the devil, he was referring to Legba.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:10 PM   #67 (permalink)
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I don't think anyone is trying to suggest that Robert Johnson invented the blues, which would be completely ridiculous if they did. But I do think there is more to his music than just a unique finger style technique. Are his lyrics the same lyrics the blues artist before him used? Blues relies on emphasizing, especially 70 some odd years ago. I personally would have to be convinced by more than just a few personal opinions concerning the originality and innovation of Johnson's talent before I would suggest or believe that he is overrated. I have actually listened to his music in depth.

And I personally hear the same thing Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Page, just to mention a few have heard, Genius.
I was not trying to say he is overrated, he's definitely not. I honestly don't know much about his originality. His lyrics are great, I agree.

I was just saying that I've never thought of him as being really original, but I'm not saying he isn't. I've just always thought of him as one of the greatest guitarists ever.

Did a little research and found this:

Johnson's poetry is currently being taught at the University level, in particular, Victor Cabas' "Mississippi in Story and Song" at the University of Virginia.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:06 PM   #68 (permalink)
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I was not trying to say he is overrated, he's definitely not. I honestly don't know much about his originality. His lyrics are great, I agree.

I was just saying that I've never thought of him as being really original, but I'm not saying he isn't. I've just always thought of him as one of the greatest guitarists ever.

Did a little research and found this:

Johnson's poetry is currently being taught at the University level, in particular, Victor Cabas' "Mississippi in Story and Song" at the University of Virginia.
That's some good info to check out later blaster, Thanks.

Sometimes it can be hard to completely understand any certain artist or band for that matter, if you don't transcend your train of thought to the particular era in question.

For example if your talking about Robert Johnson, you have to realize we are talking about prior to 1938 (the year of his death). And the same is to be said for any artist/band in order to grasp a complete and more coherent analysis.

Whether it is a band from the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s for example. We have to remember to not always think within the modern era of today's music.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:51 PM   #69 (permalink)
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That's some good info to check out later blaster, Thanks.

Sometimes it can be hard to completely understand any certain artist or band for that matter, if you don't transcend your train of thought to the particular era in question.

For example if your talking about Robert Johnson, you have to realize we are talking about prior to 1938 (the year of his death). And the same is to be said for any artist/band in order to grasp a complete and more coherent analysis.

Whether it is a band from the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s for example. We have to remember to not always think within the modern era of today's music.
That's very true. I'm always preaching the same message. For example, a lot of people I know say that Hendrix couldn't play very fast. Well of course he doesn't seem fast when you compare him to modern guitarists, but back then he was pretty fast. You can't just discredit what someone did because it was in the past. No one is always going to be able to keep up with the times. You can't say Robert Johnson sucked because he can't shred like Malmsteen or Vai. He came from a different time period, and he was damn good in his own respected time.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:16 AM   #70 (permalink)
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He wasn't good enough to play in local bars until he went away for a year or so to learn how to play.
You were right on the money TomClancy.

Most popular opinions suggest that when Johnson disappeared, he was actually

"Woodshedding" a musician's term meaning "going off to practice." It's typically used by jazz musicians to suggest a devotion to getting it right.
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