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The Complete Blind Willie Johnson Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0000028QB
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,860 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Simply put, "The greatest rural spiritual artist to record" ( Rolling Stone Record Guide ). Johnson's apocalyptic Christian vision, his unbelievable bottleneck playing and his unmistakable vocal growl pack a shattering emotional punch perhaps matched only by Robert Johnson. 30 sides, including Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground .

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
Oh my good Lord! Where would modern guitar players be today without the collosal influence of Blind Willie Johnson. The man was a wandering gospel musician in the 1920's and 1930's. His repetoire is fundamentally religious singing old spirituals and hymns in a massive leonine voice. His slide playing is pure blues and is startling in its originality and skill. Certain modern guitar players have built whole careers around his style (Ry Cooder springs to mind). This is the CD to own as all of his material is here. Joe Bussard has said that Johnson's song "Dark was the night, cold was the ground" is the most incredible record he has ever heard, who am to disagree. Every time I hear it I get goose bumps all over. The song was released in 1928 and is a cogent reminder of what music meant to people in those days. This CD should be available on the National health, buy it!
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Format: Audio CD
As a guitar player I was aware of Blind Willie Johnson before. But, I don't play slide guitar (or at least I didn't), so he was never a major influence. After attending a couple of workshops with the great Martin Simpson on whom Blind Willie Johnson has been a huge influence in terms of his slide guitar work, I took the plunge and bought this compilation. For some, his rough, gravely false bass booming voice might prove intially to be a little unapproachable. The material too is completely uncompromising. Willie Johnson was a gospel singer, probably the finest the world has ever seen or heard. But this is raw, unadulterated gospel music from the deep south. There are no frills just simple songs delivered with raw passion, involvement and commitment backed up by some of the scariest slide guitar playing you're ever likely to hear. Bear in mind that Blind Willie was probably playing this stuff on a pretty cheap and nasty guitar and some have been quoted as saying that he used a knife for a slide ! No pre-war style 45 Martin for this guy, he simply would not have had the money for a fancy guitar. But for Willie Johnson there would be no Ry Cooder as we know him, just to cite one example.

If you're a slide guitar pplayer and haven't heard this guy then frankly, I'm surprised. It it is the case though prepare yourself for a very scary experience.

After posting this, I'll be re-tuning and reaching for that slide...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have said, the music and voice of Blind Willie Johnson can be an acquired taste. The man generally sounds like he gargled with ground glass and gravel before a recording, yet on other tracks his voice can be gentle and melodious. Once you have tuned your ear to the sound you find some genuinely profound reflections on the human condition, religion and how we relate to eternity. What is the 'soul of a man'? Will we meet again on 'Canaan's shore' (Blind Willie seems to have no doubts)? These primitive recordings are very moving and the musicianship is breathtaking.
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Format: Audio CD
If blues music really has a deep deep soul, then this may well be it. If you're expecting Chicago Blues, or Delta Blues, Johnny Winter and stuff like that, then look elsewhere. This is Gospel Blues. Another sub-genre altogether. If the newly buried could sing then they might well sound like this guy. The performances are compelling and in some cases chilling - if not harrowing. But for me, it's a fantastic ride and in some respects a privilege to be able to hear stuff like this. Highly recommended, but not for the novice or neophyte blues beginner `cos one blast of this could put the inexperienced blues listener right off; which would be a great shame.
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