I was first exposed to the music of Robert Johnson in my teens. For those of you unfamiliar with the late bluesman, Johnson is primarily known for his astonishing guitar technique as well as the mysterious legend surrounding his talents. So the story goes, a young Robert wanted nothing more than to be one of the great blues guitar players of his era. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good. He was quite literally run out of a club one night because his playing was so bad. A year or more passed before anyone heard from Robert again. Then one night he reappeared, playing better than anyone. The legend began to spread that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads, a fabled place in Mississippi.

Robert later recorded close to 30 songs spread over two recording sessions in the late 1930s. Copies of those records are quite valuable today, and extremely rare. At the age of 27, Robert Johnson was dead, poisoned at the hands of a jealous man. See, Robert had a thing for the ladies, and one night he picked the wrong one to fool around with.

I’m quite skeptical myself, but that’s just me. For instance, the Incredible Jimmy Smith taught himself how to play the organ, so anything is possible. Still, the story is captivating. Johnson’s playing influenced all of the great bluesmen in his wake, as well as rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards. Take a look at the links below to learn more about Robert Johnson, and make up your own mind.


The Crossroads – Clarksdale, MS

What happened at the crossroads: Blues legend Robert Johnson and his deal with the Devil

Legendary Guitars: Robert Johnson’s Kalamazoo KG-14 and Gibson L-1

World’s Rarest Records

Another Robert Johnson Photo Debunked

Robert Johnson Mystery

Liner Notes – The Complete Recordings

Robert Johnson – The Complete Collection

Cant You Hear The Wind Howl -The Life and Music of Robert Johnson – YouTube

Did Robert Johnson Sell His Soul to Play the Blues? – YouTube

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May 5, 2019

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