Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Robert Johnson looms so large over the history of blues, and popular music in general. He just recorded a few songs, but they really altered the course of music. Vanity Fair has an article on this picture, and one guy's quest to figure out if this is Robert Johnson in this picture (there are only two other known photos of the man).

I'd heard covers of Robert Johnson's music years before I'd heard his own recordings. They are so rough, they were hard to swallow at first. It's probably like whiskey: it takes a while to develop a taste for it. While I'm not a drinker, I can say that listening to the music from the source is pretty awesome, once you get used to it. And I say that as someone who can't always listen to "seminal influences" (I can't get into Kraftwerk, for instance, I don't care who they influenced).

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