If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.
— Bob Dylan
Chronicles: Volume One
“Come On in My Kitchen” is a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson recorded the song on November 23, 1936 at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas – his first recording session. The melody is based on the song cycle by the string band the Mississippi Sheiks, “Sitting on Top of the World” (1930)/Things About Coming My Way (1931)/I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (1932)/Hitting The Numbers (1934).
Johnson’s arrangement on slide guitar (in open tuning, commonly thought to be open G) is based on Tampa Red’s recording of the same tune with the title “Things ‘Bout Coming My Way”. Tampa Red had recorded an instrumental version in 1936, and the song had been recorded earlier by him in 1931, and by Kokomo Arnold in 1935 (Tampa Red may in fact have been the first to use the melody with his song “You Got To Reap What You Sow” (1929) based on Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell’s version).
Johnson’s recording was released on the Vocalion label (no. 03563) as a “race record” – cheap records for the black consumer market. The song was among those compiled on the King of the Delta Blues Singers LP in the 1960s. (A slower alternate take was also later found and released on CD collections; this version also has ten extra lines of lyrics.)
That’s what I am, a Delta blues man. And now I’m considered the king of the Delta blues.
~Johnny Shines (1989 Living Blues Interview)
Best known as a traveling companion of Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines’ own contributions to the blues have often been unfairly shortchanged, simply because Johnson’s own legend casts such a long shadow. In his early days, Shines was one of the top slide guitarists in Delta blues, with his own distinctive, energized style; one that may have echoed Johnson’s spirit and influence, but was never a mere imitation.
~Steve Huey (allmusic.com)
March 21: The Late Son House was (probably) born in 1902
“Of course that was my idol, Son House. I think he did a lot for the Mississippi slide down there.”
“People keep asking me where the blues started and all I can say is that when I was a boy we always was singing in the fields. Not real singing, you know, just hollerin’, but we made up our songs about things that was happening to us at the time, and I think that’s where the blues started.”
~Son House (1965)
Today is the birthday of the legendary blues-man Robert Johnson
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer and musician. His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that have influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including a Faustian myth. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke-joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson enjoyed little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.
We celebrate his life and art with two amazing documentaries.
1. The Crossroads Legends – Search for Robert Johnson:
“You think you’re getting a handle on playing the blues, and then you hear Robert Johnson — some of the rhythms he’s doing and playing and singing at the same time, you think, ‘This guy must have three brains!’ ”
Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still.
~Bob Dylan (Rockline interview – June 1985)
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Keith Jarrett (born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American pianist and composer who performs both jazz and classical music. Jarrett started his career with Art Blakey, moving on to play with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music; as a group leader and a solo performer. His improvisations draw not only from the traditions of jazz, but from other genres as well, especially Western classical music, gospel, blues, and ethnic folk music.
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Richard Edward Arnold (May 15, 1918 – May 8, 2008), known professionally as Eddy Arnold, was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a so-called Nashville sound (country/popular music) innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones. He sold more than 85 million records. A member of the Grand Ole Opry (beginning 1943) and the Country Music Hall of Fame (beginning 1966), Arnold ranked 22nd on Country Music Television’s 2003 list of “The 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.” He co-wrote the country and pop standard “You Don’t Know Me”.
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