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Roots of Robert Johnson
Various Artists
Roots of Robert Johnson
Genres: Country, Blues, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Roots of Robert Johnson
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Yazoo
Original Release Date: 1/1/1991
Re-Release Date: 7/1/1991
Genres: Country, Blues, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Acoustic Blues, Slide Guitar
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 016351017321, 016350107344, 669910075951

CD Reviews

Before the Legend
Caesar | college | 10/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Robert Johnson is the most recognized and celebrated figure of the blues genre. His incomparable talent directly influenced later legends like Muddy Waters and Elmore James; and later, rock n' roll's most famous artists, such as Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aerosmith...the list goes on and on.But mainstream music accredits him as the inventor of the sound. This is simply not true. While he was probably unsurpassed in talent, Johnson himself aquired the style, melodies, guitar work, and in some cases, lyrics, from his contemporaries. This collection offers just of few of the songs that were later reworked into Johnson's masterpieces.But this album has much more value beyond the historical significance; the music is phenomenal. We have the brilliant songwriting ingenuity of Skip James, the ferocity of Son House's moans and bottleneck slaps, the soft sincerity of Lonnie Johnson's voice, the tongue-in-cheek humor of Johnny Temple, the jagged growls of Charley Patton, and the weaving melodies of the Mississippi Sheiks.I cannot stress enough that each song is outstanding--you will not have the urge to skip any track; your money will be well spent. Furthermore, the folks at Yazoo have done an excellent job of digitally cleaning out the hisses and pops from these old 78 vinyl recordings. Sure, they sound a bit muffled and there is a scratch here and there, but overall, these tracks are very listenable (with one exception being Son House's "Preachin' the Blues"--only one copy is known to exist, and it's in rather bad shape. Although the sound quality is poor, Yazoo has wisely included it in this collection as it is a powerful and astounding song).Most Delta Blues aficionados will already have the complete works of all the artists on this collection. But even if you are a casual blues fan, you are undoubtedly a fan of Robert Johnson, and this disc will be a vital part of your collection. You will hear the bases for Johnson's most famous songs ("Cross Road Blues", "Come On In My Kitchen", "Hellhound On My Trail", "Love In Vain", "Sweet Home Chicago", "They're Red Hot", "Kindhearted Woman Blues"--they're all here, folks!), and you will realize the "King of the Delta Blues Singers" is actually sharing his crown."
Of great historical importance!
Caesar | 07/08/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Critics worship Johnson far too much at the expense of other equally talented Delta bluesman (I had a conversation about this in a bar one night with August Wilson--he agreed completely). This album shows how much Johnson learned, borrowed or stole from his contemporaries. The Skip James contributions are classics."
Simply a fantastic collection.
James Patrick Page | 05/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This fascinating and rewarding CD is a way to open your ears to some of the artists who 'influenced' Robert Johnson. But to assume these performers are merely an adjunct to Johnson is entirely wrong; each artist was exceptionally gifted and deserves recognition entirely in their own right. Of course, Son House, Charlie Patton, and Skip James are instantly recognisable names to the casual 'blues' listener - but Casey Bill Weldon, Lonnie Johnson and Kokomo Arnold also deserve the same adulation. You get them all on this CD, with a mix of classic songs (probably selected to be somewhat representative of an artist's work in general) and more esoteric selections that suggest real attention to nuance and variation by the producers.

Whilst most listeners will arrive at this CD through Robert Johnson, and will enjoy identifying elements of the songs he incorporated (or blatantly imitated) within his body of work, the album easily stands alone and, once appropriately digested, will provide a number of threads for further listening exploration.

Some high points are Son House's 'My Black Mama' and 'Preachin' The Blues, Pt. 1' (exceptional recordings that are often overlooked in favour of the sonic fidelity of House's 1960s recordings), Patton's 'Revenue Man Blues' (a variation musically upon his 'High Sheriff Blues', but by no means a lesser song), and Skip James' entirely off the wall '22-20 Blues'. However, every track on this album deserves special attention.

If you're sitting there wondering if you should purchase this album - don't. It is a fantastic bridge to some incredible artists who have been somewhat shadowed by the Johnson myth. Buy this CD it and you'll be doing these artists - and yourself - a real favour."