Robert Johnson, or at least the mythical version of him, is pervasive in American pop culture. He is considered a “Faustian” character, which essentially means the story surrounding him involves making a deal with
Mephistopheles (a demon) or
himself. Deals like these typically were said to take place at crossroads, often seen as a metaphorical or actual liminal space, a place where change happens.
The legend goes that Johnson fell distraught after his first wife died in childbirth and he turned to his love of music to cope but he was horrible at the guitar with an unpleasant voice. Johnson was said to have disappeared for a length of time and then returned with great musical skill and a wonderful, mournful singing voice. At a crossroads, marked with the three guitar statue (above), Johnson supposedly met a man who gave him these abilities–in return for his soul. People point to some of his songs like “Cross Road Blues” and “Hell Hound on My Trail” as evidence that he had made the deal with the devil and the hellhounds were there to collect.
Johnson only recorded three records and died at the age of 27 in 1938 due to “mysterious” stomach pains. Of course, the legend would have us believe that the Devil had come to collect his dues. Most people, however, believe that he was poisoned (one way or another) due to flirting with or having an affair with a married woman. Either way, he died very young after putting out only a little bit of music and had only a couple of photos ever taken of him. He’s a figure shrouded in mystery due to how little is known about him but he lives on in our collective imagination, still recognized as the King of the Delta Blues.
Ben Hemming performing ‘Rambling Man’ live from the album 'City of Streets’. No backing tracks, loop pedals or any other effects were used for this recording. It was filmed totally live. Bass drum and downbeat cymbal mount by farmer foot drums, Snare drum mount by sidekick drums.
Hurray For The Riff Raff perform Living In The City on Later… with Jools Holland, BBC Two (24 October 2017). Hurray for the Riff Raff is an American folk-blues and Americana band from New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s so peculiar to me that some of the best Americana/blues rock comes from places that are not, well, America. Broken Witt Rebels appear to be putting out some of the best blues from across the pond. Take the wonderful Shake Me Down for example.
Yes I have this little floof! Her name is Vici and she’s a two year old poochon.
28. What type of music do you like?
I love all sorts of music. I like a lot of darker folk/Americana and blues. That’s really where my heart is when it comes to music and it influences the music I make to some degree as well. Also I’m a huge fan of 90′s punk and grunge. And then just for a change of pace I listen to a lot of EDM as well.