Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Search for Robert Johnson...

I found this gem of a DVD on Amazon and immediately put an ILL out for it. My interest in jazz music, particularly the blues, has often through the years led me back to the one who some credit with starting it all--the elusive Robert Johnson. This DVD essentially asks the question....."Who is Robert Johnson?" To three generations of true believers he was the king of Mississippi Delta country blues, cut down more than 50 years ago at the age of 27 by poisoned whiskey at the hands of a jealous husband in a plantation juke joint. His most well-known songs were turned into R&B and rock standards over the years:
"Walkin' Blues" by Muddy Waters
"I Believe I'll Dust my Broom" by Elmore James
"Love in Vain" by the Rolling Stones
"Cross Road Blues" by Eric Clapton
Just to name a few. Yet the details of Johnson's incandescent young life, from birth to his still-disputed burial place, remained shrouded in mystery, even secrecy, for more than a half-century.
For the first stime in history, "The Search for Robert Johnson" traces this troubled figure. Narrator John Hammond steers us through this travelogue as he reenacts the work of the original researchers, crisscrossing the Delta by automobile and freight car; unveiling marriage records from six decades ago; taking us to the sites of Johnson's only two recording sessions in '36 and '37, and finally exploring the circumstances of Johnson's untimely death.

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