Music Banter

Music Banter (https://www.musicbanter.com/)
-   Jazz & Blues (https://www.musicbanter.com/jazz-blues/)
-   -   The Robert Johnson Appreciation Thread (https://www.musicbanter.com/jazz-blues/12532-robert-johnson-appreciation-thread.html)

mosesandtherubberducky 12-21-2005 02:24 PM

The Robert Johnson Appreciation Thread
 
Robert Johnson was born on May 8, 1911 to Julia Major Dodds and Noah Johnson in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. Until his late adolescence, his name was Robert Spencer after his stepfather, who had to change his name from Dodds to Spencer when he ran from Mississipi after a personal vandetta with the Marchetti Brothers (Lavere 7). Johnson took the name of his natural father as a teenager, even though he had not met him.

Music was a long-time interest for Johnson, and his first instruments were the Jew's harp and the harmonica. Before he became seriously involved with the guitar, he married Virginia Travis in February 1929, and the young couple soon became expectant parents. But tragedy struck when Virginia, only sixteen years old, died in childbirth in 1930.

Around June of 1930, blues musician Son House came to Mississippi. His music deeply affected Johnson, for it was the "rawest, most direct pure emotion Robert had ever heard, and he followed House and [Willie] Brown wherever they went" (Lavere 11). But Johnson did not appear to be gifted with a musician's talent for guitar, as Son House asserts, " Such another racket you never heard! It'd make people mad, you know. They'd come out and say, "Why don't y'all go in there and get that guitar from that boy!" (Cobb 289).

Unhappy and unwilling to be caught in the sharecropper's world of backbreaking work with little reward, Johnson left the regular scene around Robinsonville, Mississippi and went to Hazelhurst, MS. There he played at the "jook joints of the road gangs and lumber camps," and found a "kind and loving woman more than ten years his senior" named Calletta "Callie" Craft (Lavere 11). The couple was married in May 1931, but they kept the marriage a secret.

This time in Southern Mississippi was very important for Johnson, because his musical talent came to fruition. When he returned to Robunsonville, Son House and Willie Brown were astounded by his development (Lavere 13). Rumors began about Johnson trading his soul to the devil in exchange for the guitar expertise. His career took off.

In performance, Johnson played his own songs as well as those of other bluesmen and generally popular music by performers such as Bing Crosby. When he made up his mind to record, in 1936, he approached H. C. Speirs, a white record store owner in Jackson, MS. Speirs sent him to Ernie Oertle, an ARC scout. Oertle and Johnson went to San Antonio late in November 1936, where, in 5 days, he recorded Kindhearted Woman Blues, I Believe I'll Dust My Broom, Sweet Home Chicago, Rambling On My Mind, When You Got a Good Friend, Come On In My Kitchen, Terraplane Blues, Phonograph Blues, 32-20 Blues, They're Red Hot, Dead Shrimp Blues, Cross Road Blues, Walking Blues, Last Fair Deal Gone Down, Preaching Blues (Up Jumped the Devil), and If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day. When he was done, he returned home to Mississippi.

Johnson returned to recording in June of 1937, this time in Dallas. He did two takes each of Hellhound On My Trail, Little Queen of Spades, Malted Milk, Drunken Hearted Man, Me and the Devil Blues, Stop Breakin' Down Blues, Traveling Riverside Blues, and Honeymoon Blues, and three takes of Milkcow's Calf Blues, and four takes of Love in Vain.

During the next year, Johnson traveled to such places as St. Louis, Memphis, and back home to the Delta. On Saturday night, August 13, 1938 at a jook joint named Three Forks, Johnson played his last gig. Of the many rumors concerning Johnson's death in 1938 (stabbing, poison, the devil catching up with him), poisoning is the most prevalent and most substantiated. His death certificate was found in 1968, verifying his death in Greenwood, Mississippi. He is buried at a small church in Morgan City, MS, which is near Greenwood. It was soon after Johnson's death, but before the news was wide-spread, that John Hammond began looking for Johnson to perform at Carnegie Hall in a "From Spirituals to Swing" concert.

In 1990, Columbia reissued Johnson's recordings in their Roots 'n' Blues series. Johnson was featured on a U.S. Post Office stamp in 19XX. Johnson's songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Lee Roy Parnell and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 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.



This was taken from http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Music/BLUES/rjbio.html



Speak of anything regarding this man.

boris jawaka 12-21-2005 05:23 PM

a genius.

without him, there would be no zeppelin, no clapton and the world would be a much worse place than it already is

Kashmir86 12-28-2005 09:23 AM

agreed^ Johnson is a legend, unfortunately a legend that most people don't even know of.

Black_Jack_Davey 12-28-2005 11:55 PM

You would think more people would know more of RJ's music, after all he only has 41 recorded songs, and most of them are doubles. Get his complete recordings. Now.

3KingsFan 01-02-2006 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kashmir86
agreed^ Johnson is a legend, unfortunately a legend that most people don't even know of.

Actually, he is the most well known pre-WW II bluesman there is. His music has been covered by Clapton, Peter Green, The Rolling Stones, Foghat, just to name a few of the rock acts that have covered him. "Sweet Home Chicago" has been covered by half(if not more) of the blues artists on the planet. I believe "Complete Recordings" was the first blues recording to sell over a million copies. Next to Muddy Waters and possibly Howlin Wolf, RJ is the closest thing the blues has to a "rock star".

jazzfromhell 01-02-2006 11:51 PM

Yeah, but like like you said, he's just the closest thing they've got to a rock star. Doesn't mean he is a rock star. Although I agree that he's probably the best known bluesman, other than Muddy Waters or B.B. King (I'd definitely agree he's the best known Delta bluesman), doesn't mean he's well known. Just more well known than the rest.

Kashmir86 01-03-2006 11:31 AM

It's just sad how huge of an influence he was on so many artists to follow, yet the average clapton or zeppelin fan would be like robert who?

fidelityfiend 01-06-2006 07:54 AM

Keep in mind that outside of Clapton and maybe Keb Mo, it usually takes TWO guitarists playing together to duplicate RJ's arrangements accurately. Brutha could fn play!!

Black_Jack_Davey 01-10-2006 02:08 PM

What's yer guys' favorite Johnson song? Cross Road Blues is an obvious favorite, but mine has to be Stop Breaking Down Blues.

Music Man 01-10-2006 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black_Jack_Davey
You would think more people would know more of RJ's music, after all he only has 41 recorded songs, and most of them are doubles. Get his complete recordings. Now.

He recorded 29 different songs, and recorded alternate takes of 13 of those 29, for a total of 42 recordings.

Unfortunately, the sound quality wasn't good back then, so you can't fully appreciate just how good his music was by those recordings. But I still recommend that interested individuals buy his complete recordings. Even with the sub-par sound quality, his music is still a treat.

Black_Jack_Davey 01-10-2006 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Music Man
He recorded 29 different songs, and recorded alternate takes of 13 of those 29, for a total of 42 recordings.

I know I'm not mistaken.

Robert Johnson recorded 29 different songs, correct, but only recorded 12 alternate takes. I've got the double album in front of me, 20 tracks on Disc 1, 21 tracks on Disc 2.

41 recordings.

Music Man 01-10-2006 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black_Jack_Davey
I know I'm not mistaken.

Robert Johnson recorded 29 different songs, correct, but only recorded 12 alternate takes. I've got the double album in front of me, 20 tracks on Disc 1, 21 tracks on Disc 2.

41 recordings.

Sorry, but your figures are out-dated. Another alternate take of one of his songs was discovered in recent years, making a total of 42 recordings.

If you only possess 41 recordings, you do NOT have his complete recordings:

"Including the material that never saw issuance on 78's, there are 29 compositions and alternate versions of nearly half of them. Including the recent discovery of a previously unknown alternate take of one of Johnson's recordings, a total of 42 recordings remain to this day"

http://www.deltahaze.com/johnson/bio.html

Black_Jack_Davey 01-10-2006 07:22 PM

Interesting. I've had the "Complete Recordings" box set for about twelve years. Looks like it's time to update.

TheCellarTapes 01-17-2009 07:28 AM

Robert Johnson
 
Another one of my creations....



This week, I looked at the rather mysterious Robert Johnson, all hype or rightfully idolised? Well Keith Richards and Eric Clapton can't be wrong can they?

Dying at 27 we'll never know what he could have achieved, but what he did achieve in his short life surely puts him up there with the greats?

Over to you merry lot for a big mass debate. :thumb:

Sneer 01-17-2009 10:00 AM

My favourite blues artist by a mile.

lucifer_sam 01-17-2009 11:10 PM

An old thread but we definitely have one already...

http://www.musicbanter.com/jazz-blue...on-thread.html

Piss Me Off 01-18-2009 08:26 AM

It's impossible to cover Stop Breakin' Down Blues and for it not to be good.

TheCellarTapes 01-18-2009 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lucifer_sam (Post 580779)
An old thread but we definitely have one already...

http://www.musicbanter.com/jazz-blue...on-thread.html

Well spotted, I thought there would be one somewhere but couldnt find it.

Molecules 01-18-2009 10:23 AM

Robert Johnson ftw .I prefer Skip James tho unfortunately a large chunk of his original recordings are nigh-on unlistenable sound-quality wise.

jackhammer 01-18-2009 10:29 AM

Classic stuff but I have to admit to rarely listening to him but his recordings should be on everyones HD at least.

ixtlan22 01-18-2009 04:08 PM

Robert Johnson IS blues. He defines it! Gotta love it!

The Wild Man 01-18-2009 08:21 PM

He really created "evil music". What kind of songs had that dark element to them at that time? He also was a very great guitarist/

Bloozcrooz 02-05-2011 04:48 AM

Im resurecting this thread to pay respects to one of the Blues greats

Howard the Duck 02-05-2011 11:21 AM

what's there not to appreciate?

he was probably the first rock star

Bloozcrooz 02-05-2011 11:29 AM

Yeah he really rocked out....hard core. He'll probally be in the R&R hall of fame one day.

Jedey 02-05-2011 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boozinbloozin (Post 998954)
Yeah he really rocked out....hard core. He'll probally be in the R&R hall of fame one day.

He has been since 1986.

Here's my fave of his.


Geetarguy 02-07-2011 12:55 PM

The hell hounds are still chasing him!!! GO ROBERT!!!

Bloozcrooz 02-08-2011 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedey (Post 999035)
He has been since 1986.

Here's my fave of his.


Nice!!

Necromancer 07-07-2011 01:27 PM

I just watched a documentary with Eric Clapton paying tribute to the music of Robert Johnson. And now I understand why Clapton is revered as a great blues guitarist. Anyone that is able to cover Johnson's music the way Clapton does has to be an extraordinary talented artist. The combination of playing the guitar and covering Johnson's lead vocals at the same time, (as explained by Clapton). "One could easily spend a lifetime trying to replicate his music/timing perfectly".


tticooldn92 07-13-2011 05:12 AM

What's yer guys' favorite Johnson song? Cross Road Blues is an obvious favorite, but mine has to be Stop Breaking Down Blues.

Howard the Duck 07-13-2011 06:00 AM

Terraplane Blues?

blastingas10 08-10-2011 12:05 PM

Does Robert Johnson play with poly rhythm? i'm not even quite sure what it is, but i believe it is playing two different rhythms at the same time. Robert Johnson certainly does that, when you listen to him it sounds like there are two people there. As Keith Richards said when he heard Robert for the first time, "Who's the other guitar player?"

Can someone clear up this "poly rhythm" thing for me?

Surell 08-10-2011 02:07 PM

If that's what defines polyrhythm (which should translate to multiple rhythms), then he most definitely had it in the bag, or at least did in an illusive way.

SIRIUSB 08-10-2011 02:18 PM

Johnson's technique could be called fingerstyle, or contrapuntal, in that there is a bass pulse with harmonic structure, and a melody line at once.

Several years ago I had the privilege of performing with a friend of Robert Johnson's, the last of the Delta Bluesmen, Honeyboy Edwards at BB Kings in NYC . . . what a tremendous time I had, just talking with this cat in the dressing room about Robert Johnson and voodoo in Mississippi and it's influence on Robert's lyrics.

blastingas10 08-10-2011 02:59 PM

Thats awesome, man. How did you manage that? Who else can play like Robert Johnson? I've never heard anyone that could.

SIRIUSB 08-10-2011 03:05 PM

I was in the House band for BB Kings in Times Square, so I got to play with whoever was coming through the area . . . neat gig.

This woman Rory Block, she can do Johnson excellently and has a helluva voice too (not bad on the eyes either) also John Hammond Jr. does a great job
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...V3jPfDWItdFJTChttp://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...MAla5sh-74Irf7

blastingas10 08-10-2011 03:29 PM

Wow. Thats impressive.

Necromancer 11-03-2011 10:25 AM

Eric Clapton was Allen Collins hero, so..goes Skynyrd's cover of one of Robert Johnson's most famous singles, Crossroads.


Goofle 12-11-2011 10:58 PM

Somehow I hadn't scrobbled a song by him up until tonight when I decided to listen to "American Roots Music" which is basically a remastered compilation. Great stuff.

blastingas10 12-12-2011 02:55 AM

I've heard some shredders say that they were surprised at how good Johnson was and they didn't think they could play like him. Surprising to hear from someone who usually thinks speed is the only way to measure technical ability.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:16 AM.


© 2003-2019 Advameg, Inc.