Robert Johnson is the most legendary of Delta blues singers, and while the facts of his real life are scarce, tall tales abound--most commonly that he sold his soul to the devil in order to master the guitar. Johnson invested his music with frightening emotional power. His high, ghostly wail (not unlike that of Skip James) and his dauntingly nimble guitar work (at times it sounds like he has four hands) add drama to his songs, already rich in emotion. Though his entire catalog consists of a mere 29 songs recorded between 1936 and '37, Johnson's music cast a long shadow over following generations of bluesmen, and his influence on rock & roll--musically and mythically--has been profound.
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