Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

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by Tom Graves
     
 

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The result of careful research, this stylish biography of infamous blues musician Robert Johnson reveals the real story behind the mythical talent that made him a musical legend. According to some, Robert Johnson learned guitar by trading his soul away to the Devil at a crossroads in rural Mississippi. When he died at age 27 of a mysterious poisoning, many

Overview

The result of careful research, this stylish biography of infamous blues musician Robert Johnson reveals the real story behind the mythical talent that made him a musical legend. According to some, Robert Johnson learned guitar by trading his soul away to the Devil at a crossroads in rural Mississippi. When he died at age 27 of a mysterious poisoning, many superstitious fans came to believe that the Devil had returned to take his due. This diligent study of Johnson’s life debunks these myths, while emphasizing the effect that Johnson, said to be the greatest blues musician who ever lived, has had on modern musicians and fans of the blues. Since its publication in 2008, Crossroads has been hailed by critics and blues fans alike as the definitive biography of this most elusive of American icons.

"Anyone who is aware of Robert Johnson's contribution to blues and rock music will want this book. It is as true a picture of the man as we will ever have." —Blues Society of Tulsa

"The book you hold in your hands is perhaps the most accurate recital of the facts of the life of Little Robert Leroy Johnson, the King of Spades, The King of the Delta Blues Singers that you’re likely to come across for many years to come..." --Steve LaVere

"Crossroads is well researched, informative and easy to read. . . . An enjoyable read that separates the man from the myth." —Blues Review magazine

"Graves applies the lively narration of music journalism to this brief biography of Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson." —Book News Inc.

"The most complete and accurate book so far on Robert Johnson . . . an interesting and absorbing book that not only will be of interest to new fans, but will fill in some gaps for longtime fans." —Blues Bytes online magazine

"Graves' study is well researched and entertaining, and worth a read by anyone interested in Johnson and his remarkable legacy." —Dirty Linen magazine

"This short book is an interesting study . . . of Robert Johnson's life but also in the legends surrounding his life and death. Graves is adept at retelling the facts." —BluesWax

"Graves'. . . aim in this brief but handy clearinghouse of a book is to separate fact from fiction and set the record straight, a job even Johnson's friends in the 1930s had trouble doing." —Memphis magazine

Editorial Reviews

Blues Review magazine
Well researched, informative and easy to read. . . . An enjoyable read that separates the man from the myth.
Book News Inc.
Graves applies the lively narration of music journalism to this brief biography of Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson.
Blues Bytes online Magazine
The most complete and accurate book so far on Robert Johnson. . . . an interesting and absorbing book that not only will be of interest to new fans, but will fill in some gaps for longtime fans.
Dirty Linen magazine
Graves' study is well researched and entertaining, and worth a read by anyone interested in Johnson and his remarkable legacy.
BluesWax
This short book is an interesting study . . . of Robert Johnson's life but also in the legends surrounding his life and death. Graves is adept at retelling the facts.
Memphis magazine
Graves' . . . aim in this brief but handy clearinghouse of a book is to separate fact from fiction and set the record straight, a job even Johnson's friends in the 1930s had trouble doing.
Blues Society of Tulsa

Anyone who is aware of Robert Johnson's contribution to blues and rock music will want this book. It is as true a picture of the man as we will ever have.

Library Journal

With a fan's enthusiasm and a scholar's scruples, Graves (English & humanities, LeMoyne-Owen Coll., Memphis; former editor, Rock & Roll Disc magazine) sets the record straight on the life and times of Robert Johnson and his influence on musicians since his passing in 1938. The myths aren't exploded but instead explained as the response of those who discovered his music, especially those young rock musicians who fell in love with it in the late 1950s and early 1960s. And that's the strong point of this book, where fact and fiction collide; in addition to shattering some ridiculous illusions about Johnson's life, the author convincingly shows that Johnson's skills as a musician and composer are what count. Fortunately, contemporaries of Johnson and those close to him left behind enough information to show what Johnson was really like, and Graves offers some useful items, as when he explains the value of the few validated photographs of Johnson. This book, which finally salvages Johnson's life from the myths surrounding it, is highly recommended.
—William G. Kenz

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617929144
Publisher:
BookBaby
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Series:
Crossroads Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
133
Sales rank:
990,619
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Crossroads is well researched, informative and easy to read. . . . An enjoyable read that separates the man from the myth."  —Blues Review magazine

"Graves applies the lively narration of music journalism to this brief

biography of Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson."  —Book News Inc.

"The most complete and accurate book so far on Robert Johnson . . . an interesting and absorbing book that not only will be of interest to new fans, but will fill in some gaps for longtime fans."  —Blues Bytes online magazine

"Graves' study is well researched and entertaining, and worth a read by anyone interested in Johnson and his remarkable legacy."  —Dirty Linen magazine

"This short book is an interesting study . . . of Robert Johnson's life but also in the legends surrounding his life and death. Graves is adept at retelling the facts."  —BluesWax

"Graves'. . . aim in this brief but handy clearinghouse of a book is to separate fact from fiction and set the record straight, a job even Johnson's friends in the 1930s had trouble doing."  —Memphis magazine

"Anyone who is aware of Robert Johnson's contribution to blues and rock music will want this book. It is as true a picture of the man as we will ever have."  —Blues Society of Tulsa

Meet the Author

Tom Graves is the author of Pullers and has written articles for American HistoryMusician, The New Leader, The New York Times Book Review, The Oxford American, Rolling Stone, and The Washington Post Book World. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Steve LaVere is a music historian and a Grammy Award–winning record producer.

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Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not much to this book. You can read it quickly and in short order. It's probably not the author's fault. I think there is probably not a lot to learn Robert Johnson. Not as interesting as I had hoped.