Music is nature's language. What it is telling you is to shut up for once and listen.

 

One guitar, six strings and a room full of drunk nigers who will stab you if you don’t make them dance. Now that is what I call motivation.

 

 

You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  
 

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  
   

Robert johnson - The Crossroads

Every blues player knows the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil in a dark Memphis night , right there on that eternal crossroads of the blues, and it is indeed a worthy story with mythical proportions and just the right amount of 'badboy' factor the blues players like so much.

Now, as I am more from the followers of the church of tom waits, who clearly said in his hoarse holy psalms that everybody knows there is no devil, it's just god when he is drunk, and was a marketing and advertising executive for the better part of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil.
I am however very impressed with Robert Johnson's work.

 
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above
"Have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please"
 
A blues player friend back in the old country explained to me once the secret of Robert johnsons (and also a lot of his contemporary bluesmen) and why it is so genius.

One guitar, six strings and a room full of drunk nigers who will stab you if you don’t make them dance. Now that is what I call motivation. And he made them dance alright…. Hitting those bass chords like there is not tomorrow and giving a nice lean rhythm to uplift the song, no matter how sad the lyrics might be.
 
You may bury my body down by the highway side. So my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus and ride."
 
One of the things I like about Robert Johnson. Is that although he was the blues player he was never whining like most of them do. Yes, she left me. Ok. Now let's see what ending we choose for this song….should I shoot her in half with my 32/20 , should I drink my malted milk, or should I just dust my broom? (I would recommend dusting the broom after shooting her and then going for the malted milk, but that’s just because I am too pragmatic to be a real blues player…)
 
 
Whenever I pick up my guitar, I usually start with two or three Robert Johnson tunes. It unclogs the guitar and puts me in the right mood. There is something in that slow rhythm pushing forward forward struggling with every line and every note to keep on moving despite the bass lines shackles of that tyrant thumb…

The reason Johnson is such a legend today, other than the obvious devil story, is that these contagious melodies and straightforward lyrics have touched musicians for decades and some of the biggest shows on earth played his songs, no longer in a hot sweaty dance shack but in front of thousands of screaming fans, and used these songs to attain a level of respectability they found hard to acquire with new rock songs.
 

 

I think that one of the things these megagroups were so impressed by is the fact Johnson did break the rules whenever he wanted to. Yes, it IS a 13 bar blues, so? What are you going to do about it?

When Clapton recorded his Robert Johnson sessions , he was talking about the separation between the guitar parts and the singing parts : "I mean, to do those two things at the same time…until I….and I still can't do it completely right, I can kind of get an approximation , but it's almost one of those things…when you listen to it, it just sounds so relaxed, and yet when you come to try and do it you find out how almost virtually impossible it is."
Maybe it was the devil's gift after all…

One last comment about the whole devil story, just to prove again that with all dues respect, tom waits did get this one right…isn’t it strange that in order to sell your soul to the devil you have to go to the cross(roads)? Just saying….

 

ME AND THE DEVIL http://youtu.be/SliFoT3Qre0

ROLLING STONES - http://youtu.be/JsEEyeFau6Y
LED ZEPPELIN - http://youtu.be/2kHVMGjPzw4
ALLMAN BROTHERS - http://youtu.be/MquKxlcoJZw
HENDRIX - http://youtu.be/qX4FY4GmEQ0
RED HOT CHILLY PEPPERS - http://youtu.be/lqigzxs9eSM
ERIC CLAPTON - http://youtu.be/OZCREueK6OI