Robert Johnson (musician)

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Robert Johnson
Born May 8, 1911(1911-05-08)
Hazlehurst, Mississippi, U.S.
Died August 16, 1938(1938-08-16) (aged 27)
Greenwood, Mississippi, U.S.
Genres Blues
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1929–1938

Robert Johnson, born Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911August 16, 1938) is one of the most famous Delta blues musicians.

Early life[change | change source]

He was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. He was the 11th child of his mother Julia Major Dodds, and 10th child of his father Charles Dodds. When he was born, his father had left his mother. He was brought up by a field worker named Noah Johnson. That is why he chose "Johnson" for his family name.

Early career[change | change source]

He began playing guitar when he was a child. In February 1929 he married Virginia Travis and became serious about playing the guitar. His wife died in childbirth at the age of 16 in April 1930. Johnson began traveling up and down the Delta. Around 1936, one of his friends who helped many of the blues players, helped him join them.

His death happened on August 16, 1938, at the age of twenty-seven.

Songs[change | change source]

Eleven grammophone records were made by Robert Johnson with Vocalion during his lifetime, and a twelfth record was made once he had died.[1]

Track Recorded Catalogue Released Song Title Time
1. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3416 1937 Kind Hearted Woman Blues 2:29
2. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3416 Terraplane Blues 3:01
3. 11/26/36 Vocalion 3445 32-20 Blues 2:50
4. 11/27/36 Vocalion 3445 Last Fair Deal Gone Down 2:39
5. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3475 I Believe I'll Dust My Broom 2:57
6. 11/27/36 Vocalion 3475 Dead Shrimp Blues 2:29
7. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3519 Ramblin' On My Mind 2:57
8. 11/27/36 Vocalion 3519 Cross Road Blues 2:29
9. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3563 Come On In My Kitchen 2:52
10. 11/27/36 Vocalion 3563 They're Red Hot 2:56
11. 11/27/36 Vocalion 3601 Walkin' Blues 2:30
12. 11/23/36 Vocalion 3601 Sweet Home Chicago 2:57
13. 6/19/37 Vocalion 3623 From Four Until Late 2:22
14. 6/20/37 Vocalion 3623 Hellhound On My Trail 2:37
15. 6/20/37 Vocalion 3665 Malted Milk 2:20
16. 6/20/37 Vocalion 3665 Milkcow's Calf Blues 2:17
17. 6/19/37 Vocalion 3723 Stones In My Passway 2:28
18. 6/19/37 Vocalion 3723 I'm A Steady Rollin' Man 2:35
19. 6/20/37 Vocalion 4002 1938 Stop Breakin' Down Blues 2:21
20. 6/20/37 Vocalion 4002 Honeymoon Blues 2:16
21. 6/20/37 Vocalion 4108 Little Queen Of Spades 2:16
22. 6/20/37 Vocalion 4108 Me And The Devil Blues 2:34
23. 11/27/36 Vocalion 4630 1939 Preachin' Blues 2:52
24. 6/20/37 Vocalion 4630 Love In Vain 2:20

All following songs were released after 1939:

Recorded Matrix Released Song title Time
11/23/36 SA-2584-1 1961 When You Got A Good Friend take #1 2:37
11/23/36 SA-2584-2 When You Got A Good Friend take #2 2:50
11/23/36 SA-2585-1 1961 Come On In My Kitchen take #1 2:47
11/23/36 SA-2587-1 Phonograph Blues take #1 2:37
11/23/36 SA-2587-2 Phonograph Blues take #2 2:32
11/27/36 SA-2629-2 1961 Cross Road Blues take #2 2:29
11/27/36 SA-2633-1 1961 If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day 2:34
6/20/37 DAL-397-1 1961 Drunken Hearted Man take # 1 2:24
6/20/37 DAL-397-2 Drunken Hearted Man take # 2 2:19
6/20/37 DAL-400-1 1961 Travelin' Riverside Blues take # 1 2:47
6/20/37 DAL-400-2 Travelin' Riverside Blues take # 2 2:47
6/20/37 DAL-402-2 Love In Vain take # 1 2:28

References[change | change source]

  1. Komarma (2007) pp. 63-68