Researching Robert Johnson and the blues

One thing i884685s for sure.  When dealing with a legend–especially a Faustian legend, it appears multiple players are going to enter the picture battling for supremacy.

I learned this the minute I stated researching blues legend Robert Johnson, and the bedrock legendary, circa-1927 tale of him selling his soul to the devil in exchange for prodigious guitar and musical skill.

I’d always assumed the place was the corner of Highways 49, and 161 in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Clarksdale certainly feels this way,and I don’t blame them. Who wouldn’t want to be at ground zero for the explosion of the Delta Blues?

Then, I discover that Dockery Plantation has its own crossroads, and that Son House, Willie Brown AND Johnson used to chill there and play.

Right after that, I’ve got Son House telling the tale that Johnson met the nether-lout at Rosedale.

No matter what, I’m not going to win.  Despite the fact that the entire trajectory of my book has an “alternate history” feel to it, some self-serving ninny is going to lay a siege upon my amazon offering with some ten-part exegesis about how I “am way off,” or “couldn’t hit the historical side of a chronological barn” or some other thing.

Then, instead of talking bout the merits of the book, I’ll be defending the parameters, dates, and times for an event that MOST LIKELY NEVER HAPPENED.

But . . . that being said, the research side of this is fun. Mainly, because I love the blues, I LOVE listening to old black men recall their memories along the Delta, and really–simply delving further than others.

The only thing that could make this better is a trip to Mississippi.


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