Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Legacy of Robert Johnson on his 101st Birthday

In 1911 on this day, the legendary bluesman and guitarist Robert Johnson was born.

I have discussed Johnson in the past many times; yet no matter how many times I do, there is always an aura of mystery that shrouds his legacy that keeps me coming back.

From dying at the young age of 27, recording only a handful of songs (which most became standards and rock n' roll influences), to the legend of selling his soul to the devil, and his hypnotic guitar playing, Johnson reigns as the supreme deity of the blues, as he lived it in it's purest form.

"The Complete Recordings" tally Johnson's songs to 41; but 29 of them are the originals, and the rest are alternate takes. That's miniscule compared to the thousands of records cut by the likes of John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins... but these 41 tracks have resonated to the deepest souls and have become and immortal and integral selection to the genre.

From Eric Clapton to the Rolling Stones and everyone in between, the few recordings of 1936 - 1937 caused a great revolution in Western music. Johnson never got to see this fame in his lifetime.

Here's to another year of the Robert Johnson legacy.

Here's one of his select records, "32-20 Blues".

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