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Crossroads: The Life And Afterlife Of Blues Legend Robert Johnson(Second Edition)



The life of Robert Johnson has been shrowed in mystery for more than half a century, ever since his music came back on the scene at the beginning of the 1960s. With the long absent recordings now back in the limelight and British artists like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards being influenced by his lyrics and riffs, stories started to surface about the blues legend. Stories about deals with the devil. Talk of the tremendous talent that he may have received supernaturally. His death at the hands of a jealous husband. And a life spent rambling across the South playing juke joints, seducing women, and drinking whiskey.




Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson(Second Edition)



When Robert Johnson was younger, he liked to go to the juke joints and listen to musicians like Son House. It wasn?t long before Johnson began playing guitar in-between sets, a performance few people appreciated. ?Robert, he?d get the guitar and go to bamming with it, you know?? House told a writer years later. ?Just keeping noise, and the people didn?t like that. They?d come and tell us, ?Why don?t you or Willie [Brown] go in there and stop that boy? He?s driving everybody nuts.?? Two years later, when House heard Johnson play again, he couldn?t believe the change. ?And that boy got started off playing ? and when he got through, all our mouths were standing open. All! He was gone!? How did Johnson become so good so fast? He made a pact with the devil at the crossroads, according to legend. Several years later Johnson died of mysterious causes. He was only 27. The devil, some say, came to collect his soul as payment. In this new, highly readable biography of Johnson?s life, music critic and novelist Tom Graves gives you the real story behind the ?Crossroads Legend.? But the debunking of that myth doesn?t lessen the appreciation that contemporary musicians and blues fans have of Johnson, who is said to be the greatest blues musician who ever lived. CONTENIDO: Foreword, by Steve LaVere Preface: Fact, Myth and the Musician Introduction: The Lowland Mississippi Delta Plantation Blues The Life of Robert Johnson 1. The Early Years 2. Johnson as a Young Man 3. The Walking Musician Years 4. The Recording Years 5. Death of a Delta Bluesman The Afterlife of Robert Johnson 6. Legend of the Crossroads 7. John Hammond Resurrects Johnson 8. A New Audience 9. A Global Phenomenon 10. The Movie That Changed the Legend 11. The Feud Over the Johnson Photos 12. The Complete Recordings Defies Sales Expectations 13. A Son Is Found 14. The 3.5-Second Piece of Celluloid Afterword Legends Live On Appendix A Brief Discussion of Johnson?s Music Bibliography Index


Around this time, the blues musician Son House moved to Robinsonville, where his musical partner Willie Brown lived. Late in life, House remembered Johnson as a "little boy" who was a competent harmonica player but an embarrassingly bad guitarist. Soon after, Johnson left Robinsonville for the area around Martinsville, close to his birthplace, possibly searching for his natural father. Here he perfected the guitar style of House and learned other styles from Isaiah "Ike" Zimmerman. Zimmerman was rumored to have learned supernaturally to play guitar by visiting graveyards at midnight. When Johnson next appeared in Robinsonville, he seemed to have miraculously acquired a guitar technique. House was interviewed at a time when the legend of Johnson's pact with the devil was well known among blues researchers. He was asked whether he attributed Johnson's technique to this pact, and his equivocal answers have been taken as confirmation.


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