Music Article

Robert Johnson

(1911-1938)

Robert Johnson

Why Dylan's a fan of Robert Johnson

In Dylan's Words ''You have to wonder if Johnson was playing for an audience that only he could see, one off in the future. 'The stuff I got'll bust your brains out,' he sings. Johnson is serious, like the scorched earth. There's nothing clownish about him or his lyrics. I wanted to be like that, too.''

Let Us Explain Johnson is a larger-than-life figure — a legend, both literally (the tall tale about how he sold his soul to the devil at ''the crossroads'' in exchange for his blues chops) and figuratively (he has no other equal in the realm of blues music). Move over Elvis: Many have even called Johnson the ''father of modern rock 'n' roll.''

Suggested Spin Hellhound On My Trail (1995, Indigo), a collection of essential recordings that conjure the spirit of swampy delta blues

On the Web
Best Unofficial Site
His Legacy A closer look at Johnson's musical innovations
An Academic Perspective Links to critical papers on Johnson, such as ''Compassionate and Sadistic: Johnson on Women''

Originally posted Sep 16, 2005
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