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Offlinettotheh
european son
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Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 2,135
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robert johnson
    #387536 - 03/21/10 12:39 AM (6 years, 8 months ago)



--------------------
I live with thirteen dead cats ,
a purple dog that wears spats,
they all live out in the hall,
and i cant stand it anymore



anything i say on this website is 100 % false


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Offlinettotheh
european son
Male


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 2,135
Loc: new york state Flag
Last seen: 4 years, 6 months
Re: robert johnson [Re: ttotheh]
    #387538 - 03/21/10 12:44 AM (6 years, 8 months ago)



--------------------
I live with thirteen dead cats ,
a purple dog that wears spats,
they all live out in the hall,
and i cant stand it anymore



anything i say on this website is 100 % false


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Offlinettotheh
european son
Male


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 2,135
Loc: new york state Flag
Last seen: 4 years, 6 months
Re: robert johnson [Re: ttotheh]
    #387540 - 03/21/10 12:48 AM (6 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

According to a legend known to modern blues fans, Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. After tuning the guitar, the Devil played a few songs and then returned it to Johnson, giving him mastery of the guitar. This was, in effect, a deal with the Devil mirroring the legend of Faust; in exchange Robert Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

This legend was developed over time, and has been chronicled by Gayle Dean Wardlow,[19] Edward Komara[20] and Elijah Wald, though Wald sees the legend as largely dating from Johnson's rediscovery by white fans more than two decades after his death.[21] Folk tales of bargains with the Devil have long existed in African American and European traditions, and were adapted into literature by, amongst others, Washington Irving in "The Devil and Tom Walker" in 1824, and by Stephen Vincent Benet in "The Devil and Daniel Webster" in 1936. In the 1930s the folklorist Harry Middleton Hyatt recorded many tales of banjo players, fiddlers, card sharps, and dice sharks selling their souls at crossroads, along with guitarists and one accordionist. The folklorist Alan Lomax considered that every African American secular musician was "in the opinion of both himself and his peers, a child of the Devil, a consequence of the black view of the European dance embrace as sinful in the extreme".[22]

Johnson seems to have claimed occasionally that he had sold his soul to the Devil, but it is not clear that he meant it seriously. However, these claims are strongly disputed in Tom Graves' biography of Johnson, Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson, published in 2008. Son House once told the story to Pete Welding as an explanation of Johnson's astonishingly rapid mastery of the guitar. Welding reported it as a serious belief in a widely read article in Down Beat in 1966.[23] However, other interviewers failed to elicit any confirmation from House. Moreover, there were fully two years between House's observation of Robert as first a novice and then a master.

Further details were absorbed from the imaginative retellings by Greil Marcus[24] and Robert Palmer.[25] Most significantly, the detail was added that Johnson received his gift from a large black man at a crossroads. There is dispute as to how and when the crossroads detail was attached to the Robert Johnson story. All the published evidence, including a full chapter on the subject in the biography Crossroads by Tom Graves, suggests an origin in the story of Tommy Johnson. This story was collected from his musical associate Ishman Bracey and his elder brother Ledell in the 1960s.[26] One version of Ledell Johnson's account was published in 1971 David Evans's biography of Tommy,[27] and was repeated in print in 1982 alongside Son House's story in the widely read Searching for Robert Johnson.[28]

In another version, Ledell placed the meeting not at a crossroads but in a graveyard. This resembles the story told to Steve LaVere that Ike Zinnerman of Hazelhurst, Mississippi learned to play the guitar at midnight while sitting on tombstones. Zinnerman is believed to have influenced the playing of the young Robert Johnson.[29] Recent research by blues scholar Bruce Conforth uncovered Ike Zimmerman's (note: this is the correct spelling as indicated by family and census records) daughter and the story becomes much clearer, including the fact that Johnson and Zimmerman did, in fact, practice in a graveyard at night (because it was quiet and no one would disturb them) but that it was not the Hazlehurst cemetery as had been believed. Johnson spent about a year living with, and learning from, Zimmerman, who ultimately accompanied Johnson back up to the Delta to look after him. Conforth's article in Living Blues magazine goes into much greater detail.[30]


The legendary "Crossroads" at Clarksdale, Mississippi.The crossroads detail was widely believed to come from Johnson himself, probably because it appeared to some to explain the discrepancy in "Cross Road Blues". Yet, while Johnson's high emotion and religious fervor may not be easy to understand for 21st-century white Americans, it is not hard to explain in the context of race and time. Although the crossroads myth offers a simple literal explanation for both the religion and the anguish, such feelings were well known to African-Americans of the time. In the 1930s in the Deep South, the fear felt by a black man caught out alone at night was far a mundane experience. In fact, historian Historian Leon Litwack has suggested that the song refers to the common fear felt by blacks who were discovered out alone after dark. Over 4,700 blacks were lynched in the South between 1882 and 1959. And, as late as 1960s in parts of the South, the well-known expression, "Nigger, don't let the sun go down on you here," was, according to Litwack, "understood and vigorously enforced." In an era when lynchings were still common, Johnson was singing about the desperation of finding his way home from an unfamiliar place as quickly as possible because, as the song says, "the sun goin' down, boy/ dark gon' catch me here."[31]

There are now tourist attractions claiming to be "The Crossroads" at Clarksdale and in Memphis.[32] The film O Brother Where Art Thou? by the Coen Brothers incorporates the crossroads legend and a young African American blues guitarist named "Tommy Johnson", with no other biographical similarity to the real Tommy Johnson or to Robert Johnson. In the CW TV series Supernatural, the season two episode "Crossroad Blues" was based on the legend.

Blues musician and historian Elijah Wald generally sees the Devil legend as applied to Johnson as overblown. "t is common for white scholars to remark on the dark passions and superstitious terrors expressed in lines that in a juke joint would have produced laughter," he writes.[33] While agreeing with other critics about the "tortured poetry" of "Hellhound on My Trail",[34] he sees, for example, "Me and the Devil Blues" as an entirely other matter,[35] "working within a well-established tradition of blues Devil songs, full of "tongue-in-cheek braggadocio".





--------------------
I live with thirteen dead cats ,
a purple dog that wears spats,
they all live out in the hall,
and i cant stand it anymore



anything i say on this website is 100 % false


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineDelBoycie

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 286
Last seen: 3 years, 5 months
Re: robert johnson [Re: ttotheh]
    #387641 - 03/21/10 10:46 AM (6 years, 8 months ago)

:thumbup:


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