Robert Johnson Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

Check out these new and used Robert Johnson vinyl records LPs for sale. We recommend starting your Robert Johnson vinyl collection with the essential albums Sweet Home Chicago/ Walkin Blues, King Of The Delta Blues Singers and Close Personal Friend. Our inventory is always changing, so check back often, or browse our list of vinyl records for sale from blues musicians.

Robert Johnson Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

In the hallowed annals of blues history, Robert Johnson stands as an enigmatic figure, a phantom at the crossroads of myth and reality. Born on May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and departing this world prematurely at the age of 27, Johnson’s life was brief, yet his impact on the blues genre is immeasurable. He left behind a scant but profound catalog of recordings that continue to captivate and influence musicians across genres. This article delves into the life, the legends, and the enduring legacy of the man who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads.

The Shadowed Origins:

Robert Leroy Johnson’s early life was marked by obscurity, and much of his early history remains shrouded in mystery. Born into poverty on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson’s family faced the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South. His early years were marred by hardships, and the details of his formative experiences are often obscured by the passage of time.

It is said that Johnson’s love for music ignited during his adolescence. Legend has it that he was a self-taught musician who would visit graveyards at midnight to practice the guitar in the eerie quietude of the Mississippi Delta. The haunting loneliness of the Delta, coupled with the specter of racial injustice, would become intrinsic elements in Johnson’s later blues compositions.

The Faustian Tale: The Crossroads Myth:

Central to the mystique surrounding Robert Johnson is the legend of his pact with the devil at the crossroads. The story goes that Johnson, frustrated by his initial struggles with the guitar, made a midnight journey to a desolate crossroads. There, according to the myth, he encountered a mysterious figure (often identified as the devil) who tuned his guitar, granting him unparalleled mastery over the instrument in exchange for his soul.

While the crossroads myth adds a layer of mysticism to Johnson’s narrative, it also speaks to the profound impact of his musical transformation. Whether an allegory for the struggles of a tormented artist or a genuine supernatural encounter, the crossroads myth serves as a metaphorical cornerstone in understanding Johnson’s unparalleled talent and influence.

The Discography: A Brief Blaze of Brilliance:

Robert Johnson’s recording career was astonishingly brief, spanning only two recording sessions in 1936 and 1937. Yet, these sessions produced a collection of songs that would become foundational to the blues genre. Johnson’s music was characterized by intricate guitar work, haunting vocal delivery, and a lyrical depth that reflected the pain and complexities of his life.

The 1936 session in San Antonio, Texas, yielded some of Johnson’s most iconic tracks, including “Sweet Home Chicago,” “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” and “Terraplane Blues.” The haunting beauty of Johnson’s slide guitar and the emotional resonance of his voice set him apart, even in an era populated by extraordinary blues talents.

The second session, held in Dallas in 1937, further solidified Johnson’s legacy. Songs like “Hellhound on My Trail,” “Love in Vain,” and “Me and the Devil Blues” captured the essence of a man grappling with personal demons and navigating a turbulent existence. These recordings, characterized by their emotional depth and musical complexity, remain timeless testaments to Johnson’s artistry.

The Reverberations: Influence on Future Generations:

Despite his limited commercial success during his lifetime, Robert Johnson’s influence looms large over the history of music. His virtuosic guitar technique, impassioned vocals, and poetic lyricism served as a blueprint for future generations of blues and rock musicians.

Legendary bluesman Muddy Waters, who encountered Johnson’s recordings in the early 1940s, once remarked, “I couldn’t do nothing but sit in the house and play Robert Johnson.” Waters, along with other blues luminaries like Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, built upon Johnson’s foundation, propelling the blues into new realms of expression.

As the blues evolved, Johnson’s impact extended beyond the genre. In the 1960s, during the blues revival, a new generation of musicians discovered Johnson’s recordings. British blues rockers like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Page, among others, acknowledged Johnson’s influence on their own musical journeys. Clapton, in particular, famously referred to Johnson as “the most important blues singer that ever lived.”

Legacy and Recognition:

The belated recognition of Robert Johnson’s contributions to music reached a pinnacle in 1986 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His influence, once confined to the shadows, had now become a foundational pillar in the pantheon of American music.

In 1990, Columbia Records released a comprehensive compilation titled “The Complete Recordings,” which brought together all 29 known recordings by Johnson. This compilation introduced Johnson’s work to a new generation of listeners and solidified his status as a seminal figure in the history of blues and American music.

The Myth, the Man, and the Modern Reverence:

While the myth of Robert Johnson’s deal with the devil persists, the man himself remains elusive. The scarcity of documented details about his life has allowed the mythology to flourish, contributing to the enduring allure of Johnson as a mysterious and haunted figure.

The blues, at its core, is a genre steeped in the personal narratives of its musicians. Johnson’s songs, whether detailing the anguish of unrequited love, the shadow of mortality, or the stark realities of racism, captured the essence of the blues experience. His ability to distill complex emotions into poetic verses and soul-stirring guitar phrases set him apart as a master storyteller of the human condition.

In the contemporary era, Robert Johnson’s influence persists, not only in the work of blues purists but also in the broader spectrum of popular music. His songs have been covered and reinterpreted by artists across genres, attesting to the timelessness of his art. The echoes of Johnson’s haunting melodies and poignant lyrics can be heard in the works of modern musicians who continue to draw inspiration from the Delta bluesman.

The Bittersweet Epitaph:

Robert Johnson’s story is a bittersweet epitaph, a tale of artistic brilliance cut short by a tragic fate. His untimely death at the age of 27, widely believed to be a result of poisoning, adds another layer of sorrow to his narrative. The circumstances surrounding his passing remain unclear, contributing to the air of mystery that enshrouds his life.

Yet, through the haze of legend and lore, Robert Johnson’s music endures. His songs, delivered with an emotional intensity that transcends time, continue to resonate with audiences worldwide. The soulful cry of his voice and the intricate dance of his fingers on the fretboard remain immortal, reminding us that, whether through myth or reality, Robert Johnson’s legacy is etched into the very fabric of American music.

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