Thoughts :: The devil at the crossroads

May 26th, 2019
A hippo in a flower field.
Robert Johnson

Legend has it that, in July of 1930, Robert Johnson got to Son House and Willie Brown and asked them to let him play a little for the crowd, but he has totally suck at that.

Humiliated, Johnson went away promising to show them who’s the boss.

He went to a crossroad and made “the deal”. A year later Johnson came back to where House and Brown was, and broke the house.

Thence all the Blues and Rock’n’Roll came from, even the British ones.

The records tell Robert Johnson spent a year learning from Ike Zimmerman how to play the guitar at a graveyard in Hazlehurst, everyday at midnight.

The myth about Robert Johnson came mainly from how he played the guitar, as no other has done before. That’s why I’m writing this very post: I must respectfully disagree.

If you take some Portuguese viola, Spanish guitar or Gypsy songs from far before Johnson, you’ll be able to hear exactly the same techniques Johnson would be creating then. There was nothing really new in Johnson but slides and blues (even slides are doubtful).

The Latin European people had ever known the Johnson’s tricks.

I can understand the American’s failure to know or recognise foreign cultures, but the British ignorance about their near neighbourhood frightens me.

So the devil at the Crossroads has a name: cultural bias.

Also in Medium.

In time: ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads – a Robert Johnson Story

Education and Culture | Music

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