I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please”
Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still.
~Bob Dylan (Rockline Interview June 1985)
You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.
~Keith Richards (about Robert Johnson)
“Cross Road Blues” is a blues song written and recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson in 1936. It is a solo performance in the Delta blues-style with Johnson’s vocal accompanied by his acoustic slide guitar. Although its lyrics do not contain any specific references, the song has become part of the Robert Johnson mythology as referring to the place where he supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents
If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.
— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).
Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).
Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)
“B.B. King is not only a timeless singer and guitarist, he’s also a natural-born entertainer, and on Live at the Regal the listener is treated to an exhibition of all three of his talents.”
Live at the Regal is a 1965 live album by American blues guitarist and singer B.B. King. It was recorded on November 21, 1964 at the Regal Theater in Chicago. The album is widely heralded as one of the greatest blues albums ever recorded and is #141 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2005, Live at the Regal was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.
“Ladies and gentlemen, how about a nice warm round of applause to welcome the world’s greatest blues singer, the king of the blues; B.B. King.”
BLUES STORY: A Documentary (2003)
Directed by Jay Levey
The blues was born at the turn of the century in the Mississippi Delta and other regions of the South. It would become the cornerstone of all popular American music. This is its story as told by the artists who lived it.
Produced and directed by Jay Levey, executive produced by Levey and Richard Foos (the man who founded Rhino Records as well as Shout!), with Edward Marritz directing photography and Mark Mandler serving as the sound engineer, the film also counts Jim O’Neal (the founder of Living Blues magazine and owner of Rooster Blues) as executive consultant and associate producer. What a great production crew.
Hubert Sumlin, guitarist with Howlin’ Wolf for many years, tells a story about his mother telling him that if he wanted to do church music, he should do church music. If he wanted to go the other way, he should. His smiles and says, “Yes, ma’am, I’m going the other way.”Continue reading “Classic documentary: Blues Story by Jay Levey”→
A great blues singer, also a guitarist and composer, born on October 26, 1894 (given until recently as September 26, 1893) in Wortham, Texas, about 60 miles south of Dallas. Hugely influential because he shaped the Texas blues and put it on record, though his recording career was, typically, very short (1926-1929). He was the main blues influence on Leadbelly and, through Leadbelly, an important tutor to many, many others.
-Michale Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Lemon Henry “Blind Lemon” Jefferson (September 24, 1894 – December 19, 1929) was an American blues and gospel singer-songwriter and musician. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and has been called the “Father of the Texas Blues”.