Monday, November 16, 2009
THE ROBERT JOHNSON MUSEUM?
The AP has a story (which I found via Yahoo! News) about the home of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson being made into a museum.
Apparently despite all the mystery and myth that surrounds the man's life, his place of birth has been verified as a house in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. It's about 100 miles from the Delta, and the town is trying to get tourists to bring their money to town . I bet it will work to a certain extent: it isn't going to be Graceland, but there are surely people who want to learn anything they can about Robert Johnson.
In a way, it's a bummer that anything about the man will be demystified. There's something cool about his entire mystique: he was a decent guitar player, he disappears for a while, he comes back the best player anyone has ever seen. A deal with the devil? Why not? There's not a lot of mystery in the world any more. On the other hand, I don't want to take an elistist position with this, and I think that it is great that people want to learn more about a guy who died over 70 years ago, only two photos of him exist, and very few recordings.
Listen to the recordings! It sounds like two or three guitarists at the same time. It's just one. It's just him, singing, playing, and tapping his foot. That's it. Those recordings inspired so much of what we listen to today. It's amazing to think about it.