Thursday, September 19, 2019

King of the Delta Blues Singers: Robert Johnson Essay -- essays papers

King of the Delta Blues Singers: Robert Johnson The life of Robert Johnson, one of the most influential early blues artists, in shrouded by vague details and encompassed in mystery. His emotion filled playing and singing blends to form some of the most moving, original blues music ever produced. Ironically, despite being one of the top influences to blues music, little is known about the shy, mild mannered bluesman. "Almost nothing, is known about his life†¦ he is only a name on a few recordings." Where did he come from? Who was Johnson’s family. Who inspired Robert to play the blues and who influenced his music? Who exactly was Robert Johnson? Only the vague recollections of his friends and family link us to the mysterious life of Robert Johnson. From these accounts the story of Robert Johnson is brought to life, and the events which fueled his powerful music are pieced together. Robert Johnson was born on May eighth, 1911, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Robert was the eleventh child born to Mrs. Julia Dodds. Robert’s mother described little Robert as a playful little boy, who "Always used to be listenin, listenin to the wind or the chickens cluckin in the backyard or me, when I’d be singin round the house. And he just love church†¦ Little Robert set on my lap and try to keep time, look like, or hold on to my skirt and sort of jig up and down and laugh and laugh." (Lomax, 14) Thus, Robert was first introduced by his church into the world of music and was forever captured by its beauty. Mrs. Johnson didn’t have much trouble with Robert as a child but as he grew older, he became more and more intrigued about the extravagant life of the bluesmen, and taken by the spiritual music. He started following the musicians around, staying out all night, intrigued by the bluesman’s free lifestyle. Anyone that had a guitar, little Robert would follow off according to his mother. "Sometimes he wouldn’t come home," Robert’s mother recalls, "and a whippin never did him no good." Mrs. Johnson feared the worst for Robert, she believed the guitar was the instrument of the devil and that the music he listened to was full of sin. Robert would ease her worries by playing church songs to her, yet this never erased the fear she held inside for her son. Robert was captured by the mystery surrounding the life of the bluesmen. The women, gam... ...the blues. In 1990 a collection of Robert Johnson’s songs were put together in a two disk collection of his work. This CD set won a Grammy and sold over half a million copies. Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first in 1980 and again a second time as an early influence in 1986. Johnson’s mysterious, shadowy life and beautiful, emotion packed songs will continue to intrigue the minds of many for years to come. Bibliography: Booth, Stanley. Rhythm Oil. New York; Pantheon Books, 1991. Finn, Julio. The Bluesman. Brooklyn; Interlink Books, 1992. Guralnick, Peter. Searching For Robert Johnson. New York; Obelisk Books, 1989. "Johnson, Robert." CD-ROM. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1996. Feb. 4. "Johnson, Robert." Encarta Online. Jan., 1999. Jan 23, 1999.. Lomax, Alan. The Land Where the Blues Began. New York; Pantheon Books, 1993. "Robert Johnson." Johnson, Robert. Dec., 1999. Jan. 23., 1999. . "Robert Johnson." Robert Johnson. May, 1999. Jan. 23.,1999. Shirley, David. Every Day I sing The Blues: The Story of B.B. King. Danbury; Grolier Publishing, 1995. "Welcome to the Crossroads" Robert Johnson. Jun., 1998. Jan., 1999..

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