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Brad and Sherry Steiger

Please Visit his Official Web Site ~ edwardshanahan.com

Conscious Channeler Edward Shanahan





Robert Johnson’s life is shrouded in myth and legend.

Interestingly, there are other contenders in the myth of Robert Johnson's devil-purchased soul -- and the crossroads of US 61 and US 49 in Clarksdale is where most blues tourists pay their respects (the newest Romantics album is called "61/49" for this reason). Of course -- as with ancient Roman tourists setting off to find "sites" from Greek myths -- the location of Johnson's crossroads is not exactly something that can be proven. He was born in Hazelhurst, and his supposed grave is in Quito (near Itta Bena) -- but Rosedale did figure in the lyrics for one of Johnson's most famous songs, "Traveling Riverside Blues".


Meeting with the Devil at the Crossroads

A "vision", as told by Henry Goodman

Robert Johnson been playing down in Yazoo City and over at Beulah trying to get back up to Helena, ride left him out on a road next to the levee, walking up the highway, guitar in his hand propped up on his shoulder. October cool night, full moon filling up the dark sky, Robert Johnson thinking about Son House preaching to him, "Put that guitar down, boy, you drivin' people nuts." Robert Johnson needing as always a woman and some whiskey. Big trees all around, dark and lonesome road, a crazed, poisoned dog howling and moaning in a ditch alongside the road sending electrified chills up and down Robert Johnson's spine, coming up on a crossroads just south of Rosedale. Robert Johnson, feeling bad and lonesome, knows people up the highway in Gunnison. Can get a drink of whiskey and more up there. Man sitting off to the side of the road on a log at the crossroads says, "You're late, Robert Johnson." Robert Johnson drops to his knees and says, "Maybe not."

The man stands up, tall, barrel-chested, and black as the forever-closed eyes of Robert Johnson's stillborn baby, and walks out to the middle of the crossroads where Robert Johnson kneels. He says, "Stand up, Robert Johnson. You want to throw that guitar over there in that ditch with that hairless dog and go on back up to Robinsonville and play the harp with Willie Brown and Son, because you just another guitar player like all the rest, or you want to play that guitar like nobody ever played it before? Make a sound nobody ever heard before? You want to be the King of the Delta Blues and have all the whiskey and women you want?"

"That's a lot of whiskey and women, Devil-Man."

"I know you, Robert Johnson," says the man.

Robert Johnson, feels the moonlight bearing down on his head and the back of his neck as the moon seems to be growing bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter. He feels it like the heat of the noonday sun bearing down, and the howling and moaning of the dog in the ditch penetrates his soul, coming up through his feet and the tips of his fingers through his legs and arms, settling in that big empty place beneath his breastbone causing him to shake and shudder like a man with the palsy. Robert Johnson says, "That dog gone mad."

The man laughs. "That hound belong to me. He ain't mad, he's got the Blues. I got his soul in my hand."

The dog lets out a low, long soulful moan, a howling like never heard before, rhythmic, syncopated grunts, yelps, and barks, seizing Robert Johnson like a Grand Mal, and causing the strings on his guitar to vibrate, hum, and sing with a sound dark and blue, beautiful, soulful chords and notes possessing Robert Johnson, taking him over, spinning him around, losing him inside of his own self, wasting him, lifting him up into the sky. Robert Johnson looks over in the ditch and sees the eyes of the dog reflecting the bright moonlight or, more likely so it seems to Robert Johnson, glowing on their own, a deep violet penetrating glow, and Robert Johnson knows and feels that he is staring into the eyes of a Hellhound as his body shudders from head to toe.

The man says, "The dog ain't for sale, Robert Johnson, but the sound can be yours. That's the sound of the Delta Blues."

"I got to have that sound, Devil-Man. That sound is mine. Where do I sign?"

The man says, "You ain't got a pencil, Robert Johnson. Your word is good enough. All you got to do is keep walking north. But you better be prepared. There are consequences."

"Prepared for what, Devil-man?"

"You know where you are, Robert Johnson? You are standing in the middle of the crossroads. At midnight, that full moon is right over your head. You take one more step, you'll be in Rosedale. You take this road to the east, you'll get back over to Highway 61 in Cleveland, or you can turn around and go back down to Beulah or just go to the west and sit up on the levee and look at the River. But if you take one more step in the direction you're headed, you going to be in Rosedale at midnight under this full October moon, and you are going to have the Blues like never known to this world. My left hand will be forever wrapped around your soul, and your music will possess all who hear it. That's what's going to happen. That's what you better be prepared for. Your soul will belong to me. This is not just any crossroads. I put this "X" here for a reason, and I been waiting on you."

Robert Johnson rolls his head around, his eyes upwards in their sockets to stare at the blinding light of the moon which has now completely filled tie pitch-black Delta night, piercing his right eye like a bolt of lightning as the midnight hour hits. He looks the big man squarely in the eyes and says, "Step back, Devil-Man, I'm going to Rosedale. I am the Blues."

The man moves to one side and says, "Go on, Robert Johnson. You the King of the Delta Blues. Go on home to Rosedale. And when you get on up in town, you get you a plate of hot tamales because you going to be needing something on your stomach where you're headed."

A deal with the Devil, pact with the Devil, or Faustian bargain is a cultural motif widespread wherever the Devil is vividly present, most familiar in the legend of Faust and the figure of Mephistopheles, but elemental to many Christian folktales. In the Aarne-Thompson typological catalogue, it lies in category AT 756B – "The devil's contract."

According to traditional Christian belief in witchcraft, the pact is between a person and Satan or any other demon (or demons); the person offers his or her soul in exchange for diabolical favours. Those favours vary by the tale, but tend to include youth, knowledge, wealth, or power. It was also believed that some persons made this type of pact just as a sign of recognising the Devil as their master, in exchange for nothing. Regardless, the bargain is a dangerous one, for the price of the Fiend's service is the wagerer's soul. The tale may have a moralizing end, with eternal damnation for the foolhardy venturer. Conversely it may have a comic twist, in which a wily peasant outwits the Devil, characteristically on a technical point. Among the credulous, any apparently superhuman achievement might be credited to a pact with the Devil, from the numerous European Devil's Bridges to the superb violin technique of Niccolò Paganini.

“I went to the crossroad
Fell down on my knees,
I went to the crossroad
Fell down on my knees;
Asked the Lord above,
Have mercy now,
Save poor Bob, if you please.”

-- Robert Johnson’s “Crossroad Blues”

Robert Johnson, born Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) is among the most famous of Delta blues musicians. His landmark recordings from 1936–1937 display a remarkable combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that have influenced generations of musicians. Johnson's shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend. Considered by some to be the "Grandfather of Rock-and-Roll", his vocal phrasing, original songs, and guitar style have influenced a broad range of musicians, including John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Band, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton, who called Johnson "the most important blues musician who ever lived". He was also ranked fifth in Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Around 1936, Johnson sought out H. C. Speir in Jackson, Mississippi, who ran a general store and doubled as a talent scout. Speir, who helped the careers of many blues players, put Johnson in touch with Ernie Oertle, who offered to record the young musician in San Antonio, Texas. At the recording session, held on November 23, 1936 in rooms at the landmark Gunter Hotel which Brunswick Records had set up as a temporary studio, Johnson reportedly performed facing the wall. This has been cited as evidence he was a shy man and reserved performer, a conclusion played up in the inaccurate liner notes of the 1961 album King of the Delta Blues Singers. Johnson probably was nervous and intimidated at his first time in a makeshift recording studio (a new and alien environment for the musician), but in truth he was probably focusing on the demands of his emotive performances. In addition, playing into the corner of a wall was a sound-enhancing technique that simulated the acoustical booths of better-equipped studios. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections, and recorded alternate takes for most of these. When the recording session was over, Johnson presumably returned home with cash in his pocket; probably more money than he'd ever had at one time in his life.

Among the songs Johnson recorded in San Antonio were "Come On In My Kitchen", "Kind Hearted Woman Blues", "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", and "Cross Road Blues". "Come on in My Kitchen" included the lines: "The woman I love took from my best friend/Some joker got lucky, stole her back again,/You better come on in my kitchen, it's going to be rainin' outdoors." In "Crossroad Blues", another of his songs, he sang: "I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees./I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees./I asked the Lord above, have mercy, save poor Bob if you please./Uumb, standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride./Standing at the crossroads I tried to flag a ride./Ain't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by."

When his records began appearing, Johnson made the rounds to his relatives and the various children he had fathered to bring them the records himself. The first songs to appear were "Terraplane Blues" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", probably the only recordings of his that he would live to hear. "Terraplane Blues" became a moderate regional hit, selling 5,000 copies.

In 1937, Johnson traveled to Dallas, Texas, for another recording session in a makeshift studio at the Brunswick Record Building, 508 Park Avenue. Eleven records from this session would be released within the following year. Among them were the three songs that would largely contribute to Johnson's posthumous fame: "Stones in My Passway", "Me and the Devil", and "Hellhound On My Trail". "Stones In My Passway" and "Me And The Devil" are both about betrayal, a recurrent theme in country blues. The terrifying "Hell Hound On My Trail"—utilising another common theme of fear of the Devil—is often considered to be the crowning achievement of blues-style music. Other themes in Johnson's music include impotence ("Dead Shrimp Blues" and "Phonograph Blues") and infidelity ("Terraplane Blues", "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" and "Love in Vain").

Six of Johnson's blues songs mention the devil or some form of the supernatural. In "Me And The Devil" he began, "Early this morning when you knocked upon my door,/Early this morning, umb, when you knocked upon my door,/And I said, ' Hello, Satan, I believe it's time to go,'" before leading into "You may bury my body down by the highway side,/ You may bury my body, uumh, down by the highway side,/So my old evil spirit can get on a Greyhound bus and ride."

It has been suggested that the Devil in these songs does not solely refer to the Christian model of Satan, but equally to the African trickster god, Legba..

“. . . the Devil hangs close to the Mississippi River . . . putting
down his X . . . [and] Voodoo oozes from New Orleans
for a reason . . .”

-- The Crossroads Blues Society



In the last year of his life, Johnson is believed to have traveled to St. Louis and possibly Illinois, and then to some states in the East. He spent some time in Memphis and traveled through the Mississippi Delta and Arkansas. By the time he died, at least six of his records had been released in the South as race records.

His death occurred on August 16, 1938, at the age of twenty-seven at a country crossroads near Greenwood, Mississippi. He had been playing for a few weeks at a country dance in a town about 15 miles (24 km) from Greenwood.

There are a number of accounts and theories regarding the events preceding Johnson's death. One of these is that one evening Johnson began flirting with a woman at a dance. One version of this rumor says she was the wife of the juke joint owner who unknowingly provided Johnson with a bottle of poisoned whiskey from her husband, while another suggests she was a married woman he had been secretly seeing. Researcher Mack McCormick claims to have interviewed Johnson's alleged poisoner in the 1970s, and obtained a tacit admission of guilt from the man. When Johnson was offered an open bottle of whiskey, his friend and fellow blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson knocked the bottle out of his hand, informing him that he should never drink from an offered bottle that has already been opened. Johnson allegedly said, "don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand". Soon after, he was offered another open bottle of whiskey and accepted it, and it was that bottle that was laced with strychnine. Johnson is reported to have started to feel ill into the evening after drinking from the bottle and had to be helped back to his room in the early morning hours. Over the next three days, his condition steadily worsened and witnesses reported that he died in a convulsive state of severe pain - symptoms which are consistent with strychnine poisoning. Strychnine was readily available at the time as it was a common pesticide, and although it is a very bitter-tasting substance it is extremely toxic, and a small quantity dissolved in a harsh-tasting solution such as whiskey could possibly have gone unnoticed, but (over a period of days due to the reduced dosage) still produced the symptoms and eventual death that Johnson experienced.

The precise location of his grave remains a source of ongoing controversy, and three different markers have been erected at supposed burial sites outside of Greenwood. Research in the 1980s and 1990s strongly suggests Johnson was buried in the graveyard of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist church near Morgan City, Mississippi, not far from Greenwood, in an unmarked grave. A cenotaph memorial was placed at this location in 1990 paid for by Columbia Records and numerous smaller contributions made through the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund. More recent research by Stephen LaVere (including statements from Rosie Eskridge, the wife of the supposed gravedigger) indicates that the actual grave site is under a big pecan tree in the cemetery of the Little Zion Church north of Greenwood along Money Road. Sony Music has placed a marker at this site.

In 1938, Columbia Records producer John Hammond, who had heard Johnson's records, sought him out to book him for the first "From Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. On learning of Johnson's death, Hammond replaced him with Big Bill Broonzy, but still played two of Johnson's records from the stage. Robert Johnson has a son, Claude Johnson, and grandchildren who currently reside in a town near Hazlehurst, Mississippi.

Even in death Johnson could find no rest and even now the site of his actual final resting place is still debated among historians and devotees. In Mississippi there are two grave sites bearing his name. Just like the location of Johnson’s crossroads, his final resting place may never be known for certain, although the most likely contender is the grave located in Quitto, near Itta Bena, Mississippi.

Without Robert Johnson and the music of the Delta Blues much of the music we know and love so well today would not exist. Certainly soul and R&B owe a tremendous debt to Johnson, but in every sense, rock and roll would not be rock and roll had Johnson never existed or made that sinister deal with the Devil. It may just be that Johnson did make that deal after all and some think that there is evidence existing today that proves it.

They call it the Crossroads Curse and there are those who point to this theory to prove that the curse of Johnson’s devilish bargain has had far-reaching and unexpected consequences.

It has been said by many that Johnson never particularly liked the song, although he obliged his record producer with at least three known versions. Nevertheless, modern musicians who weren’t even born when Johnson was walking the roads of the Mississippi Delta have since learned to worship at the shrine of his talent and it is this song – “Crossroad Blues” – in particular that is most associated with modern adaptation as well as modern tragedy.

Popular rock musicians who have performed the song include Eric Clapton and Cream, The Allman Brothers Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd; and Led Zeppelin has lifted several of Johnson’s more sexual allusions for use in their lyrics. The Crossroads Curse may have touched even Kurt Cobain, the founder of Nirvana. Each of these bands has been the target of intense professional and personal tragedies that make some wonder whether the Devil isn’t still taking his payment all these long years later…

Eric Clapton and Cream recorded “Crossroad Blues” for their “Cream: Wheels of Fire” LP at the height of their fame. Within a few short years, the band was disbanded and Clapton was wallowing in the throes of heroin addiction. Years later, having cleaned up his life and enjoying a profitable solo career, Clapton was tragically struck by the death of his two year old son who fell from an apartment window to death several stories below.

The tragedy surrounding The Allman Brothers Band is practically legend in the annals of rock and roll. At the height of their fame, in 1971, Duane Allman, who is said to have loved performing “Crossroad Blues” live, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident at another crossroads near Macon, Georgia where he swerved his motorcycle to avoid hitting a truck. He died later from his injuries. Just over a year later, in 1972, another band member, guitarist Berry Oakley, was killed while riding his motorcycle; he died less than a mile from the spot where Duane Allman had met his death. Though the band soldiered on, Duane’s brother Gregg felt compelled to immortalize his brother’s connection to a crossroads in the song “Melissa”:

“Crossroads will you ever let him go?
Or will you hide the dead man’s ghost?”

Johnson's recordings have remained continuously available since John Hammond convinced Columbia Records to compile the first Johnson LP, King of the Delta Blues Singers, in 1961. A sequel LP, assembling the rest of what could be found of Johnson's recordings at that time, was issued in 1970. In the UK, both albums were issued as a two-LP set by Blue Diamond Records in 1985 under the same name, King of the Delta Blues Singers. An omnibus two-CD set (The Complete Recordings) was released in 1990 and produced by Beryl Cohen Porter [Sony/Columbia Legacy 46222], containing all 41 known recordings of his 29 compositions.

A 1996 plastic jewel-case remaster of the Complete set [Sony/Columbia Legacy 64916] corrected fidelity and pitch problems from the cardboard-packaged box. The more recent CD re-releases of "King of the Delta Blues Singers" Volumes 1 & 2 improve the sound quality far more dramatically, but don't include 10 alternate takes (and two accidental introductions) found on Complete. Volume one includes a recently discovered alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" which is not included on the Complete collection. This now brings the number of known Johnson recordings to forty-two.

Of course, some people thereabouts will tell you that the real crossroads where Robert Johnson gave away his soul is located at the intersection of US 61 and US 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi and this is the location where many blues fans go to pay their respects to the Father of the Delta Blues.

Crossroads is a 1986 cult film inspired by the legend of Robert Johnson. The film was directed by Walter Hill and featured an original score featuring Ry Cooder and Steve Vai. Starring Ralph Macchio, renowned guitarist Steve Vai also appears in the film as the devil's guitar player in the climactic guitar duel. The original music score was composed by Ry Cooder.

Crossroads (1986) which is loosely based on the theme of a blues artist selling his soul to the devil and, more specifically, about a young white blues guitarist's search for Johnson's 'missing' thirtieth song (there are only 29 individual songs in Johnson's recorded repertoire). Johnson is played by Tim Russ, while Joe Seneca plays Willie Brown (a contemporary of Johnson's mentioned in the song "Cross Road Blues"). Some scenes in the movie are meant to portray moments in Johnson's career as flashbacks, e.g. a recording session at the very start of the movie, and a portrayal of the "selling his soul to the devil"—events which are part of the legend about him. Johnson's music for the film was played & orchestrated by Ry Cooder and Steve Vai, and in some cases Johnson's actual recordings are heard in the film. While the film is almost entirely a fictitious creation based on the crossroads myth associated with Robert Johnson, those associated with it especially director Walter Hill have remarked that it was made with complete respect and admiration for the legend of the real performer.

CROSSROADS Plot summary
Eugene Martone (Macchio) has a fascination for the blues while he studies classical guitar at the Juilliard School for performing arts in New York City. Researching blues and guitar music brings famed Robert Johnson's mythically creative acclaim to his attention; especially intriguing is the "missing song" that was lost, supposedly evermore to the world.

In his quest to find this song, he discovers old newspaper archive clippings that, fortunately or not, the blues legend Willie Brown is yet alive and incarcerated in a nearby minimum security hospital.

On a visit to meet this musical icon, Eugene gets thwarted by Willie who denies that he is that Willie Brown and doesn't have any idea what Eugene is saying. Undaunted and to get around the minimum security surrounding the old man, Eugene gets a job as an orderly so he can grill the old man as work time permits. Willie again protests and denies that he is the same Willie Brown for whom Eugene is looking.

Eugene then plays some blues guitar for Willie and the old man finally acknowledges that the kid can indeed play well, just with no soul. Willie then says he knows the missing Robert Johnson tune but refuses to give it to Eugene unless the boy busts him out of the facility and gets him to Mississippi. Eugene agrees and they head for Mississippi, but the boy soon realizes that Willie is constantly running minor scams such as claiming he has more money then he has to cover their bus tickets. With no money, they end up “hoboing” from Memphis to Mississippi.

During their quest, Eugene and Willie experience the blues legacy of Robert Johnson first-hand, taking part in an impromptu jam session at a roadhouse or "jukejoint" as "Blind Dog" Willie puts it. Eugene is deeply impressed and his feelings of the authenticity of Willie being an old bluesman takes firm hold in his mind.

A romantic interest surfaces in the guise of a hitchhiker, Frances, (Jami Gertz) who follows them. She and Eugene end up sharing a tender moment in a hayloft. She soon thereafter becomes miffed at the mission at hand and leaves the two guys, so now Eugene gets a feel for the blues, playing on an old Fender Telecaster guitar and a Pignose. His style and mood is now totally altered and affirmed, making him really want to become a "blues-man" too.

They ultimately get to the crossroad and finally meet Ol' Scratch, the devil who probably bartered for and won Johnson's soul in exchange for the gift of his masterful guitar and musical style. Eugene then finds out that Willie Brown made a similar deal with Scratch back in his day. Now that he is an old man, Brown says he didn't get what he really wanted and is concerned the line on his soul will be up when he dies.

Not wanting to risk his young friend's soul, Willie forbids Eugene to get involved any further than he already is. In fact, Brown now confesses that there was no missing song for Eugene to learn but that he (Eugene) has proven himself far beyond what learning any blues song could ever teach him. Eugene wants to go for broke here and assuredly views himself as a savior to his friend Willie; just maybe he'll find the truth about Johnson's instant musical abilities once and for all.

Brown finally returns to the crossroads with Eugene in hope of breaking off the deal when he also bartered his soul. There, speaking out of turn, Eugene offers to try to win Brown's soul back in a head-cutting duel with any guitar player of the devil's choice. Scratch chooses Jack Butler (played by Steve Vai), a modern blues-metal man who has also sold his soul for musical abilities. After a blistering guitar duel, Eugene eventually manages to incorporate the classical training he received at Juilliard and wins the challenge.



Robert got "buried" in more places than most blues guys. The location of Robert Johnson's grave is only one item on the list of mysteries surrounding his life and untimely death. Recent evidence points to Little Zion as the real final resting place. A rumor that the original marker placed at Little Zion in August 2001 was removed to make way for this larger monument.




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Robert Johnson recorded only 29 songs on a total of 41 tracks extant in two recording sessions in San Antonio, Texas in November 1936 and Dallas, Texas in June 1937. Notable among these tracks are "Come on in My Kitchen", "Love in Vain", "Sweet Home Chicago", "Crossroads Blues", "Terraplane Blues", and "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", all of which have been covered by other artists. Two modern collections of these recordings have been particularly influential to contemporary audiences, although many editions of his limited output have been released. King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961) helped popularize the blues for crossover audiences in the 1960s, and The Complete Recordings (1990) provided his entire oeuvre on one dual-CD set. The most widely known legend surrounding Robert Johnson says that he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 61 and U.S. Highway 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi in exchange for prowess in playing the guitar. Actually, the location Johnson made reference to is a short distance away from that intersection. The legend was told mainly by Son House, but finds no corroboration in any of Johnson's work, despite titles like "Me and the Devil Blues" and "Hellhound on My Trail". With this said, the song "Cross Road Blues" is both widely and loosely interpreted by many as a descriptive encounter of Johnson selling his soul. The older Tommy Johnson (no relation, although it is speculated that they were cousins) also claimed to have sold his soul to the Devil. The story goes that if one would go to the crossroads a little before midnight and begin to play the guitar, a large black man would come up to the aspiring guitarist, retune his guitar and then hand it back. At this point (so the legend goes) the guitarist had sold his soul to become a virtuoso (A similar legend even surrounded virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini a century before.)
Johnson was a private man of his time, this being a major factor in modern day speculation about his life, death and musical career. Rumor and mythology have embraced Johnson throughout history; accounts, stories and truths have been fabricated many times over to tailor the legend. However, some things are known and recollections tells us of his secrecy toward the sharing of his own work with other musicians. When recording the 29 compositions (his life's work) he sat with his face to the wall while the recording was in process. His reason for this is unknown; perhaps he intended simply to increase isolation of the microphone for the sound quality of the recording, or to keep other people from seeing how he played guitar and stealing his style, which was common back in that day). Johnson was also known to be a womanizer, a drinker, and a rambler who often hopped trains for transportation — the walking incarnation of a "bluesman." Speculation and mythology are rife concerning Johnson, especially with regard to his untimely end. Recollection survives that Johnson died after drinking whiskey poisoned with strychnine, supposedly given to him by the jealous husband of a lover or his own jealous girlfriend. Fellow blues singer Sonny Boy Williamson II was present the night of Johnson's poisoning (even warning him against accepting a pre-opened bottle of whiskey) giving the account that he died whilst on his hands and knees "howling and barking like a dog". Others believe that Johnson recovered from the initial poisoning and survived for a matter of weeks, only to contract pneumonia and die on 16 August 1938 in Greenwood, Mississippi. Also, it was reported that it was believed that Johnson died from syphilis; this has no basis in medical fact. The precise cause of death remains unknown; his death certificate simply states "no doctor" under cause of death. Johnson's last words were supposedly "I pray that my redeemer will come and take me from my grave." The actual burial site of Robert Johnson is disputed, and hence there are two Robert Johnson tombstones in Mississippi: at Payne Chapel in Quito, and at the Mount Zion Church near Morgan City. Both are south of Itta Bena (birthplace of both B.B. King and Marion Barry) off of Mississippi Highway 7.

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There are very few images of Johnson; only two confirmed photographs exist. An eight-second film, which was thought to show Robert Johnson, was proved not to be him; an image of a poster in its background advertised a film which was released two years after his death.

The entire Robert Johnson Music collection is available on The Complete Recordings (1990, 2004)

".32-20 Blues"
"Come on in My Kitchen" [two versions]
"Cross Road Blues" [two versions]
"Dead Shrimp Blues"
"Drunken Hearted Man" [two versions]
"From Four Till Late"
"Hellhound on My Trail"
"Honeymoon Blues"
"I'm a Steady Rollin' Man"
"I Believe I'll Dust My Broom"
"If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day"
"Kind Hearted Woman Blues" [two versions]
"Last Fair Deal Gone Down"
"Little Queen of Spades" [two versions]
"Love in Vain" [two versions]
"Malted Milk"
"Me and the Devil Blues" [two versions]
"Milk Cow's Calf Blues" [two versions]
"Phonograph Blues" [two versions]
"Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)"
"Rambling on My Mind" [two versions]
"Stones in My Passway"
"Stop Breakin' Down Blues" [two versions]
"Sweet Home Chicago"
"Terraplane Blues"
"They're Red Hot"
"Traveling Riverside Blues" [two versions]
"Walkin' Blues"
"When You Got a Good Friend" [two versions]

Films about Robert Johnson

Crossroads, 1986 (loosely based on the theme of a blues artist selling his soul to the devil. Robert Johnson is mentioned several times, and some scenes of the movie are meant to portray moments in Johnson´s career as flashbacks, e.g. a recording-session at the very start of the movie, and a portrayal of the "selling his soul to the devil"-event which is part of the legends about him)

The Search for Robert Johnson, 1992
Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? The Life and Music of Robert Johnson, 1997
Hellhounds On My Trail: The Afterlife of Robert Johnson (2000). Directed by Robert Mugge.



The Official Robert Johnson Website http://www.deltahaze.com/johnson/

THE HOPE DIAMOND: And Other Cursed Diamonds

Cursed objects are generally supposed to have been stolen from their rightful owners or looted from a sanctuary. The Hope Diamond is supposed to bear such a curse, and bring misfortune to its owner. The stories behind why these items are cursed vary, but they usually are said to bring bad luck or to manifest unusual phenomena related to their presence.

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Cursed by the devil. Many Americans believe that serious forces are working against them? Do You?

Touched by evil, or just cursed by Satan? Many now a days believe that great demonic forces are at work mocking them every step of the way.

From Tarot Card Readers on Jackson Square in New Orleans to Mediums with crystal balls in New York store fronts, palmist and psychics and tea leave readers and coffee ground seers in California, perhaps on the phone or internet... How many people have heard they are cursed by an enemy or from some wrong they have committed, or from just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Should we believe it? Or should we move on and live our life untouched by the believing in the malediction we are rendered.

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