3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Aye, well Hmmmmm,
This review is from: King Of The Delta Blues Singers (Audio CD)
I have the original on LP and the second volume. Also a couple of the CD compilations. All are OK.
Robert Johnson is arguably one of the most over hyped blues guitarists there has ever been. Back in the 60s, when i was a lad, people like Eric Clapton would tell people, in Melody Maker, that Johnson was the best player ever. At the time this was probably the only pre electric era blues recording you could easily buy in Europe. And of course a lot of us budding guitarists went out and bought it. And were happy until we tried to imitate his playing.
Forty years or so on, still playing, still very much a blues enthusiast I have a very different opinion. I have listened to a lot of old blues, courtesy of nice people like Yazoo Records, Document Records and many others. There were many better guitarists about. If you want ragtime blues you will find no better recordings than the early ones by "Blind" Blake. If you want minimalist accurate finger picking try "Mississippi" John Hurt. If you want slide playing try "Blind" Willie Johnson. If you want rude blues Bo Carter is your man. If you want stage presence and fine slide playing check out Son House. The list is pretty much endless.
The best I can say about Johnson is that he was "OK" his real strength was being to play in a number of styles. And he, and T Bone Walker, started me out on a 40 year journey through the blues. very much like Eric Clapton in the John Mayall years. When I first heard him I was amazed. That lasted until I heard the Freddy King version and some Albert KIng records. Then I understood that Clapton, like Robert Johnson, had merely copied those that came before. Nothing wrong with copying, every blues artist did it to some extent, but discovering that they had done took the icing off the cake a bit! Having lit the blue touch paper I'll duck now ..... :-)