So tomorrow, we are definitely going to see the B.B. King Museum, Charley Patton’s grave site, and the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul. I’ve got my thoughts for today, but I want to take some time and map them out tomorrow morning before heading out. To tide you over, I thought I’d link you to an old article on the genius of Robert Johnson and how his music has influenced artists known and unknown through the decades. The link is here
For those who don’t know the story, Robert Johnson was a Delta bluesman of the 1930s. He was by no means the most famous or even influential of the Delta bluesmen of the day. That title most definitely should go to Son House. But he was a skilled guitar player with a beautiful tenor, whose moan simply burned into your soul and suggested a deep pain fitting an enigmatic figure. He died at the age of 27 under mysterious circumstances, and following his death, rumors spread that he sold his soul to the devil to play guitar. Son House and other contemporaries seemed to back this story, as they could not explain how he got so good so quickly. Folkies and British musicians- most notably Eric Clapton and Keith Richards- fell in love with his records during the 1960s folk revival, and his Complete Recordings set went platinum and won a Grammy in the 1990s. His image and the music he popularized has spread far and wide, and this article gives you a great sense of the diversity of covers that are out there.
Personal fave: A punk rock version as performed by early ’80s band Gun Club. Enjoy!