Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Robert L. Johnson, Bluesman


Have you ever heard of Robert L. Johnson?

Some believe he was the greatest bluesman since, well, blues started, I suppose. In fact, he is considered the first person to define the blues – whatever that means.

If you saw the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” you might remember the Robert L. Johnson character that was picked up at the Cross Roads on in the middle of nowhere.

Robert L. Johnson said that the reason he was such a good guitar player is that he made a deal with the Devil to be the very best musician alive. They met at the Cross Roads near Hazlehurst, Mississippi - so he said.

I doubt if many people believed he made a deal with the Devil until the day of his death. He was playing in a Chicago nightclub in 1938 when a jealous husband put poison into his drink. After he had his drink he crawled around the floor of the club vomiting and hollowing. It was collection time.

He lived 27 years.

He died penniless but years later his records became a very popular and sold like hotcakes. Which several family members and claimed-to-be related got into a legal battle with the probate court, which took 62 years to settle.

Surprisingly, on searching Google for this Robert L. Johnson was very little. It was mostly clogged with another black, a business man who made millions in the Black entertainment industry.

Money before Art!

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3 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Well, Ed, Here's one for your files-----Bird and I were married in 1998 in....Hazlehurst, Mississippi.

There's a sign outside the courthouse where we tied the knot about Johnson.

4:22 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Steve,
Well congrats! You did not make a deal with the smooth talking gentleman marrying you did you?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous bird said...

My brother used to be a cop in Hazlehurst, too.

Ed, we were married by a woman who mispronounced my name throughout the ceremony. I keep telling steve that he's not married to me, but rather some chick named Shayla...

It was a nice ceremony, however.

3:31 AM  

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