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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent re-issue to mark the centenary of Robert Johnson,
Robert Johnson, born on May 8, 1911, was the most mysterious and influential of all the Delta bluesmen. Bob Dylan once said that "It felt like a ghost had come into the room, a fearsome apparition" when he first heard the LP 'King of the Delta Blues Singers' in 1961. Robert Johnson's intense guitar playing combined with his haunting voice and stark, elemental songs created something utterly compelling.
To celebrate Johnson's centenary Sony have now re-issued all 29 of his 1936/37 recordings together with 13 alternative takes. The sound quality is greatly improved on previous compilations thanks to new digital transfers by Steve Lasker and removal of sonic noise by Seth Winner. Many fans of Robert Johnson will undoubtedly want to acquire this magnificent 2CD Centennial Collection.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sound,
The "King of the Delta Blues Singers" had too much hiss, while the "Complete Recordings" had removed the hiss, but with it also much of depth of sound. Finally, on this issue, a lot of the surface sound has been removed, while improving the depth. The sound on this CD is so good that you can actually hear a car honk its horn outside the hotel where Robert Johnson was recording. One track even has a brief recording of Johnson speaking before he begins to play, but although the liner notes indicate what he says, I haven't been able to make it out myself.
Speaking of the liner notes, the booklet is quite entertaining and informative, and interestingly makes no reference in the biography of the Crossroads legend, which is refreshing. It manages to discuss Johnson's dramatic improvement as a musician in a way that the legend isn't needed.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST have!,
I first bought vol. 2 of "King of the Delta Blues Singers" in 1985 then vol. 1 a few weeks after. In 1990 I bought the "Complete Recordings" box set. Now in 2011 we have the "The Centennial Collection". I will not review the music of Robert Johnson other than to say it is Blues at its very best.
For those who own the 1990 "Complete Recordings" I say replace it with this set! The sound of this set is so startling it was, for me, like hearing the music for the first time. There was a subtlety and softness to Johnson's vioce I had never heard before. One could hear him trailing his singing off at the end of a verse. His guitar playing too is beautifully clear on this set, So dynamic and powerful.
Again, get it!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it worth rebuying? - YES ABSOLUTELY,
I am not going to review the music on these discs. For the purpose of this review I assume you have already decided if you like/love it or not.
When I first bought the vinyl copies I was a 16yr old schoolboy. I still affectionally remember the cover paintings,I wish I still had them as I bet they are valuable.
But they never sounded as clear and rich like this.
A few years ago I bought the complete recordings on CD and I thought what an astonishing bargain, and under the circumstances for a recording made in the 30's pretty damm fine.
Now I am not a completist or some sort of "Blues anorack" so I thought is it worth rebuying this remastered edition?
Well I did anyway, along with a great book called "Escaping the Delta"
It was a 60th birthday present from me to me and it is beyond astonishing
It has more depth, warmth and bass than I thought was possible, most of it sounds like it was recorded just yesterday and not in the 30's
I am hearing lyrics clearly for the first time that used to just sound like he was mumbling.
In conclusion if it is to your taste you can't get better.
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Track list,
Why Amazon doesn't post track lists I can't guess.
Kindhearted Woman Blues
Kindhearted Woman Blues (ALT TAKE)
I Believe I'll Dust My Broom
Sweet Home Chicago
Rambling On My Mind
Rambling On My Mind (ALT TAKE)
When You Got A Good Friend
When You Got A Good Friend (ALT TAKE)
Come On In My Kitchen
Come On In My Kitchen (ALT TAKE)
Phonograph Blues (ALT TAKE)
They're Red Hot
Dead Shrimp Blues
Cross Road Blues
Cross Road Blues (ALT TAKE)
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Preaching Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)
If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day
Stones In My Passway
I'm A Steady Rollin' Man
From Four Till Late
Hellhound On My Trail
Little Queen Of Spades
Little Queen Of Spades (ALT TAKE)
Drunken Hearted Man
Drunken Hearted Man (ALT TAKE)
Me And The Devil Blues
Me And The Devil Blues (ALT TAKE)
Stop Breakin' Down Blues
Stop Breakin' Down Blues (ALT TAKE)
Traveling Riverside Blues
Traveling Riverside Blues (ALT TAKE)
Love in Vain
Love in Vain (ALT TAKE)
Milkcow's Calf Blues
Milkcow's Calf Blues (ALT TAKE)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow,
I already own the 'Complete Robert Johnson' set issued on CD a few years ago, but this set blows it away. For recordings of this vintage the sound quality is revelatory. The improvement over the earlier set makes the purchase a bit of a no brainer. There's a real presence to this version of the recordings.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelation,
This new remasters are revelatory- there is a very dramatic improvement in the sound- much more of the guitar timbre can be heard and a far greater range of Johnson's vocal characteristics is unmasked.
Its like a different recording.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning improvement,
As most previous reviewers have pointed out, this set represents a big improvement in sound quality over 1990's massive selling "The Complete Recordings". What's immediately noticeable is the consistency of the sound - on "The Complete Recordings", some songs sounded pretty decent (for 1930s country blues recordings) and others were quite rough, though not by the standards of, say, Charley Patton's or Skip James's recordings for the infamous Paramount label a few years previously, which surely deserve the attentions of transfer engineer Stephen Lasker and mastering engineer Seth Winner, who have done such a great job here. On this set, all the songs are of pretty similar quality, with noticeable improvements over the best sounding ones on the earlier set, and huge improvements over the worst ones. While some songs here do have a bit of surface hiss (not removable without damaging the higher frequencies of the music) the actual timbre of the music, especially the guitar, is far truer to life and thus far easier to listen to. Having bought "The Complete Recordings" 20-odd years ago, I didn't end up listening to it that often - either the attempts to clean up the recordings then had been a bit too zealous and damage was done to the actual sound or the initial transfers weren't so hot, leaving it a strangely tough listen even for someone used to the far more crackly likes of Patton or James. These amazing remasters finally come close to giving Robert Johnson's recordings that "he's in the room with you" quality and a warmth that they previously lacked.
Apart from that, there's one extra track - an additional take of "Travelling Riverside Blues" discovered in the mid-1990s, though this doesn't debut here - it's been available since 1998. There's now only one reason for holding on to "The Complete Recordings" and that is the much more extensive booklet - 60 pages as opposed to 28 here. While there is an adequate biography, which benefits from more recent discoveries about Johnson's life, it lacks the lyric transcriptions of the earlier set - quite a big omission in my opinion. In terms of the recordings, however, "The Complete Recordings" has been rendered completely redundant, as have, to a less spectactular degree, the late 1990s remasterings of the two volumes of "King Of The Delta Blues Singers" which superseded it; I'm sure this will be the definitive collection of Robert Johnson's recordings for many years to come.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - sound quality is superb!,
I've owned the double CD "Robert Johnson The Complete Recordings" album for must be 20 years and only decided to buy this CD as there is an additional track on it - so glad I did, the recordings have been remastered and cleaned up and the sound quality is amazing, so much better than my other CD.
Even if you already have the orginal CD I strongly recommend you get this album!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound quality far better,
I have the original long box set of these Robert Johnson songs from the 1930s.
This collection is the same collection of songs but the sound quality is far superior to the 1990s version.
The vocals and guitar are much clearer and the sound is louder if that can make sense.
You can hear the words in much greater detail.
The booklet is a nice read but is not much more than the huge book that came with the original box set.
Overall this is as good as it gets with Roberts haunting vocals and his extraordinary guitar playing that still amazes me and most guitar players.
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