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Poor sound quality... so what?
Larry | Washington, DC | 11/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mount Vernon Maven points out accurately that this recording sounds "horrific" and that it needs to be "remastered remastered remastered" to sound good on that "fabulous audio system". To be fair, it does sound bad.
What needs to be understoof is that these were recorded in the mid-1930s before audio tape was common. These recordings were most likely done on wire recorders or direct to phonograph. The fact that they've survived at all is impressive. Honestly, they sound fantastic considering the source - it's a clean signal with low noise and little distortion.
Even if these were remastered until the end of time, they will never sound like a modern recording. They were done with a single microphone picking up both voice and guitar simultaneously. There's nothing with which to work. They can be re-EQ'd (they have) and recompressed (they have), but beyond that, you can't make it sound like much more than it is without re-recording it and that will never be Robert Johnson.
Sorry to all of you that expect perfect sound from recordings nearly 70 years old - the technology was inferior. These will likely never sound better than they do here; however, the performance and inspiration remain completely intact - this is something that most modern music doesn't have and something which many people might deem more important. For those of you that are looking for substance over style, this should be the sort of music you're after."
The "Devil's Music"
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 11/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have heard the name Robert Johnson associated with country blues as long as I have been listening to the blues, and believe me that is a long time. I would venture to guess that if an average blues (or just music) fan was asked to name one blues artist the name that would, more probably than not, come up is Robert Johnson. Partially that is because his influence on later artists has been nothing short of fantastic, particularly the English blues aficionados like Eric Clapton. That said, Brother Johnson's work leaves me cold. While I can appreciate some of his lyrics his guitar playing is ordinary, his singing can be tedious and his sense of momentum over the course of an album is very mundane.
His contemporaries, or near contemporaries like Charlie Patton, Howlin' Wolf or Son House, to name just a few, are better in one or all these categories . Needless to say there is an element of subjectivity here but when the occasion arises I am more than willing to gush over a talent that makes me jump. Brother Johnson just does not do so. The source of his fame as an innovator is centered on his role of breaking the pattern of country blues established by Son House and other and giving the first hints of a city blues idiom, particularly Chicago blues.
Okay, we will give the `devil' his do on that score. Still, on any given day wouldn't you give your right arm to see and hear Howlin' Wolf croon "The Red Rooster" or any of his other midnight creeps rather than Johnson on "Sweet Home, Chicago"? Here I will rest my case.
So what do you have to hear here? Obviously, "Sweet Home, Chicago". Beyond that "32-20 Blues" is a must listen as is his version of "Dust My Broom" (but isn't Elmore James' version much better?) and "Hellhound On My Trail"."
The Title Of Ths Album Says It All!!!RIP Mr. Johnson
John Baranyai | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Late, Great Robert Johnson was truly the King Of The Delta Blus. I have heard that his guitar work was unique because he played his instrument as if it was a Blues Piano and if you listen carefully to his technique you will realize that this is a pretty good assessment. This album contains many fine tracks such as "Cross Road Blues". Mr. Johnson lived hard and fast with a drink in one hand and a lady in waiting on his arm and he travelled on Railway cars as if he truly did have a Hellhound on his trail. One gets the impession that perhaps he believed that his time on this Earth would be short which it sadly was. RIP Robert."