Despite his early death and small list of recordings, Robert Johnson is without a doubt one of the most influential musician's of the twentieth century. Among those indebted to his music are: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Eric Clapton (Cream) and The Rolling Stones. At the root of Robert Johnson's music is a relentless ability to express the deepest rawest emotion with unmistakable honesty, clarity and soul. Robert Johnson expressed his life experience through his music, which quickly became the center of his existence. Therefore to understand Robert Johnson we must understand his upbringing, his recorded works and their interrelationship. Born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi on May 8, 1911, Robert Johnson spent the first few years of his life in migrant labor camps . After being raised partly by his step father Charles Spencer in Memphis and his second step father Willie "Dusty" Willis in Robinsonville Mississippi, Robert Johnson married Virginia Travis in February 19292. In 1930 Virginia Travis died in childbirth at sixteen. The loss of his first love and their expected child pushed the young Robert Johnson to the life of The Blues. Later that year, Robert first came in contact with blues legend Eddie James "Son House" Jr. In was in "Son House" that Robert was first exposed to the "rawest, most direct pure emotion
" he had ever heard. This led him to start to play the guitar and begin to develop as a blues singer. He developed so quickly that rumor began spread of him selling his soul for his astonishing ability. All of Johnson's recoded works were done on two studio dates, one in San Antonio TX in 1936 and one in Dallas TX a year later. Only two years after his first recording, Robert Johnson was poisoned at one of his performances and died shortly after at the age of twenty-seven. Upon recalling his tragic life, one can begin to gain insight into his music. One of his most famous songs Crossroad Blues (take 2)' is characteristic of his...
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Johnson, Robert. Up Jumped The Devil. Atom Music, 2005.
Johnson, Robert and The Crossroad Curse. www.stormloader.com/users/crossroads/#genesis
Soul Patrol. The Life and Death of Robert Johnson. www.soul-patrol.com/soul/johnson.htm
Wald, Elijah. Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and
the Invention of the Blues. Armistad Press, 2004.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnson#Books_about_Robert_Johnson
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