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In Memory of Robert Johnson
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock, Classic Rock
Recorded over 20 years ago, In Memory of Robert Johnson, remains a timeless tribute to its namesake. Although the production quality of the original 1973 release was remarkable even by today's standards, the music has t... more »
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Recorded over 20 years ago, In Memory of Robert Johnson, remains a timeless tribute to its namesake. Although the production quality of the original 1973 release was remarkable even by today's standards, the music has taken on an additional level of eloquence and brilliance in this artfully re-mastered version.The life of Robert Johnson is shrouded in mystery. Some say the legendary blues artist went to the crossroads and made a deal with the devil to be able to play with such emotional power. In any case, his music never relieved his personal sufferings. Most of his recordings were made in the back rooms of Texas hotels and office buildings. Only Terraplane Blues came close to being a hit, even in the restricted race market of the time. Johnson's difficult life finally ended in 1938 under violent circumstances, yet his music became immortal. During the blues revival of the 60s and early 70s, his songs were resurrected by Captain Beefheart, Cream, The Rolling Stones, and others.English singer, blues guitarist and harmonica player, Paul Williams, was impressed when he heard some of Johnson's original recordings, which were made available to the public in the late 60s. Williams was so moved, in fact, that he gathered together some of England's most prominent blues musicians and went into London's Trident Studios. The resulting sessions faithfully captured the essence of Johnson's style while providing a showcase from some of the finest musicians of the English blues revival."What we found in Robert Johnson's music was the authenticity of a man's life," stresses the album's producer and acoustic guitarist Jon Mark, who was highly regarded for his work with blues legend John Mayall. "You have to understand that before the blues revival, we'd had Frank Sinatra singing slick, middle of the road material. Then all of a sudden young people became aware of the blues. We were really impressed with the ability of these black blues musicians to convey a pure sense of the truth. The blues was the most direct way of communicating the pain and the suffering of life, and Robert Johnson really lived it. So you can see why on this session there was a real concern of being purists, of not adulterating the music for our own purposes, but trying to recreate it or interpret it with great respect for the original source."Williams and Mark were joined on this recording by steel guitarist Glenn Campbell, pianist Bob Hall, bassists Keith Ellis and Pat Donaldson, lead guitarist Eddie Yarlett, and guitarists Alun Davies and Spencer Davis.
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Who is this guy? He knows his stuff.
Prometheus | USA | 01/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Who is this Paul Williams?
This is not the Paul Williams the link shows as doing this album nor is it the Paul Williams of Bluegrass fame.
This Paul Williams knows Robert Johnson inside out. He brings more blues and passion to the treatment of this material than any of the White bread treatments by Eric Clapton or Peter Green. One can almost hear that old time Delta sound in this album by someone who knows the blues and has lived it. If one can't get passed the scratchy sounds of the original Robert Johnson, this album is a good place to start. If you can get passed that, get the original, and then listen to the guys who taught Johnson his licks, such as Lonnie Johnson, Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Blake, and Charlie Patton."