Wednesday, September 20, 2006

robert johnson

The most widely known legend surrounding Robert Johnson says that he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 61 and U.S. Highway 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi in exchange for prowess in playing the guitar. Actually, the location Johnson made reference to is a short distance away from that intersection. The legend was told mainly by Son House, but finds no corroboration in any of Johnson's work, despite titles like "Me and the Devil Blues" and "Hellhound on My Trail". With this said, the song "Cross Road Blues" is both widely and loosely interpreted by many as a descriptive encounter of Johnson selling his soul. The older Tommy Johnson (no relation, although it is speculated that they were cousins) also claimed to have sold his soul to the Devil. The story goes that if one would go to the crossroads a little before midnight and begin to play the guitar, a large black man would come up to the aspiring guitarist, retune his guitar and then hand it back. At this point (so the legend goes) the guitarist had sold his soul to become a virtuoso (A similar legend even surrounded virtuoso violinist Niccolo Paganini a century before.)

wikipedia man


Anonymous said...

I've got a bunch of his stuff on CD. Love the Robert Johnson man. He so kicks ass.

So does Paganini. See also Stravinski's "Soldier's Tale" and "Devil went back to Georgia."


emmy lou said...

I love Ro-Jo too. He's all up in my I-pod. But even more of Mississippi John Hurt. I believe this is one of two photos ever taken of him(Johnson).


the le duo said...

I also like Mi-Jo-Hu.