Crossroad Blues

25 Apr

I’ve been on an oldies kick recently. Like, old oldies. For whatever reason, I’ve been playing the hell out of Robert Johnson.



For those of you who don’t know, Robert Johnson was a kick-ass blues player in 1930s Mississippi. Legend says that poor old Robert wanted to play blues real bad, but was absolutely terrible. Like, throw things at the stage terrible. So Robert takes himself down to an old dirt crossroads outside of town just before midnight, guitar in hand, and sells his soul to the Devil for the music. He dies young – supposedly, the husband of the lady he was fooling around with fed him poisoned whiskey – and a folk legend is born.



I don’t care much about how his music influenced later musicians. For me, the myth of his Faustian bargain is kind of fascinating. You should check out RadioLab’s episode on the whole story, “Crossroads”. It’s where I was re-introduced to Robert Johnson and got me on this latest music kick.


3 Responses to “Crossroad Blues”

  1. Karen April 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    I didn’t know you like the blues. We attended many blues concerts at Grant Park in Chicago as well as here in Las Vegas.

    • Jane April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Yeah, me neither. It sort of came out of left field for me; the rest of my playlist is rock, indie-music, and britpop.

  2. danielwalldammit May 3, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    It is a brilliant story. Once heard the song is really about being black out after dark in the deep south. …that’s interesting too.

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