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Robert Johnson Notes

by: Shakeitha Notetaker

Robert Johnson Notes 40653

Marketplace > Texas Christian University > Film > 40653 > Robert Johnson Notes
Shakeitha Notetaker
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About this Document

Life of Robert Johnson
Popular Music and Record Industry- Modern Blues
Dr. David Whillock
Class Notes




Popular in Popular Music and Record Industry- Modern Blues

Popular in Film

This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Shakeitha Notetaker on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 40653 at Texas Christian University taught by Dr. David Whillock in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 41 views. For similar materials see Popular Music and Record Industry- Modern Blues in Film at Texas Christian University.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Robert Johnson -born May 8 in Hazel Hurst, Mississippi -at age 18, married Virginia Travis -called a “Ghost” -not known where he’s exactly buried -did farm work while playing the Blues and wife died during childbirth, her family blamed him -left the farm and traveled to play -fell under the influence of Son House and Willie Brown -use to sit around them and want to play, but sounded horrible, so they often sent him away -left for 6 months and came back knowing how to play guitar -Myth: a guy at the crossroads tuned his guitar and gave it to him, and from then on he knew how to play -Delta Blues guitar player -listened and replicated the music he listened to, unlike other artists during this time -reflected commercial taste, very marketable -sophisticated, voice masking -like classic blues player, but couldn’t sit in one place -seemed to stay with women in Mississippi, although it was very dangerous there during this time; he could have been killed -Ike Zimorman played guitar in the graveyard at night and said to have taught Robert Johnson -traveled with Johnnie Shines -“Cutting Head”: when they would compete with each other and play on opposite corners right across from each to see who could get the most customers to give them money, at the end they would split it -sometimes juke joints would pay them, a lot of times got paid with liquor -traveled to Arkansas and left guitars in hotel, so sang all the way to the next town and got money from the people around and bought 2 more guitars and a hotel room -traveled to Chicago and NY, but stayed in Delta area mostly -“Sweet Home Chicago” -went to Spiers and recorded in 1936 -Ernie Oertle (American Recording Label) 1937 set up recording time in Gunter Hotel -Johnson would go into a corner in the room and sing and play guitar to get better acoustics; sounded cleaner -Don Law, producer and watcher of Johnson, had to get him out of jail -they recorded 3 sessions and 16 songs -his first time recording, he did upbeat happy songs -“Rambling on My Mind”, “Come on Into My Kitchen”, “Terraplane Blues” -in Brunswick Records in Dallas, recorded more songs -“Hell Hound on My Trail” was recorded with Brunswick and other songs that were about death and seemed very dark -“Love in Vain”: song about a woman who wouldn’t marry him -did floating verses (kept changing the verses every time sung the song) -his songs were metaphorical (Hell Hound on my Trail) and real (Love in Vain) -at age 27, at a juke joint in Three Elms, he had an affair with the owner’s wife and while drinking there, he began to feel bad -he felt worse as the day went on and went to Baptist Town -his condition got worse and he died -it was said that he had a deal with the devil to become a very well known Blues player and when that happened, the devil came to collect his due -Don Law wanted Johnson to play at Carnegie Hall, but since he died he just played his records instead -He could have died from Marfan disorder: tissue disease that can give the person lazy eye, long fingers, make them tall and skinny, and cause the victim to fall on all fours and howl like a dog -Johnson was said to have all the symptoms and he even began howling on all fours like a dog right before he died -died in Three Forks Mississippi and nobody knows exactly where he is buried -he has 3 tombstones in Payne Chapel, Mount Zion, and Little Zion -it is likely that he is buried at Little Zion, although nobody knows for sure


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