100 Years Out: Robert Johnson

In the dim early part of the last century, a bluesman named Robert Johnson claimed he sold his soul to the devil, as if to explain his otherworldly skills in writing, singing and playing the blues. If that really happened, right now Robert Johnson is burning in hell while we’re still talking and writing about him, and listening to his music. It means that Robert Johnson beat the devil.

Sunday will mark the 100th birthday of this mysterious figure. In this age of instant tweets and non-stop media, it’s almost impossible to know as little about an entertainer as we do about Robert Johnson. We do know that between 1932 until his death in 1938, Johnson was constantly on the move, playing juke joints and roadhouses across the South. He occasionally played gigs in places like Chicago and St. Louis, and the 42 songs we know him by today were cut during two epic sessions in San Antonio and Dallas.

The two things that have survived over the years are of course the legend of Robert Johnson and the devil, and the music. Robert Johnson’s music is terrifying in its stark realism, and the dark heart of his greatest songs form the foundation of rock and roll. No need to run down the list of artists influenced by Robert Johnson – you can hear it below.

MP3: “Me and the Devil Blues” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Last Fair Gone Down” by Eric Clapton

MP3: “Ramblin’ On My Mind” (live) by Lucinda Williams

MP3: “They’re Red Hot” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

MP3: “Hellhound On My Trail” by Fleetwood Mac

MP3: “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Led Zeppelin

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cyndi Lauper w/Johnny Lang

MP3: “(I Believe I’ll) Dust My Broom” by Todd Rundgren

MP3: “Love In Vain” by the Rolling Stones

MP3: “Sweet Home Chicago” by the Steve Miller Band

MP3: “Stop Breaking Down” by the White Stripes

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cream

On The Trail of the Hellhound – 30 Days Out post from 2008

3 Responses to “100 Years Out: Robert Johnson”

  1. charles Says:

    Are the Robert Johnson tracks from The Centennial Collection? If so could you post both discs? Thanks!!!

  2. 30daysout Says:

    Robert Johnson tracks are the same ones that have circulated since the 1940s – and no, sorry, we won’t post both discs.

  3. Listening to Mr Johnson right now and having not heard for a long time it still sounds as fresh as a daisy and will stand the test of time for many years to come, unlike some of the fodder we have to bear these days😀

    Happy belated birthday Robert say hello to Jimi and Brian please😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: