The music world is light on for creation myths.
The purported meeting between Robert Johnson and a talent-trading Satan is one that has always tickled my fancy. The notion that other-worldly skills might be bestowed upon a musician via a Faustian pact is appealing.
The tale has been twisted by various artists (and in multiple media since). I suspect my first encounter with was through the Muppet Show:
And then the Karate Kid took a swing at chasing down the legend:
Even the cheeky Tenacious D dudes got into it:
But ultimately, one must turns one’s attention to the gentleman who triggered all this. This collection of Robert Johnson tracks is a glorious journey back to a time when guitars, harmonicas and amplified sound could well have got one thinking about the netherworld (without the Led Zep histrionics).
Johnson is rightfully lauded as a father of modern music and this CD showcases his many skills. His voice is both strong and pained. His guitar-work is mesmerising and complex. His lyrics are amusing at times, and the songs are much more complete than a lot of the seemingly ad-libbed work of his contemporaries.
This is a record of true genius. If RJ did indeed make a pact with Beelzebub to tap into this talent then it was well worth it:
File under: Wearing a crown of horns?