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Complete Blind Willie Johnson
     

The Complete Blind Willie Johnson

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by Blind Willie Johnson
 

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Gospel blues artist Blind Willie Johnson cut some of the most stark and startling music ever committed to wax by an American artist. Between 1927 and 1930, the Marlin, Texas, native recorded 30 sides for Columbia Records, and this collection has them all. Accompanying himself with dexterous slide guitar, Johnson deploys his earth-shaking growl on cuts such as "I Know

Overview

Gospel blues artist Blind Willie Johnson cut some of the most stark and startling music ever committed to wax by an American artist. Between 1927 and 1930, the Marlin, Texas, native recorded 30 sides for Columbia Records, and this collection has them all. Accompanying himself with dexterous slide guitar, Johnson deploys his earth-shaking growl on cuts such as "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole" and the classic "If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down." The raw power and emotion he brings to the performances are astounding. Johnson's sides also provide witness to the world of southern African-American music of the period. The divisions of sacred and secular, blues and spirituals, that many find to characterize early 20th-century black music fall away under the force of Johnson's will. His driving guitar lines are as intricate and howling as anything bluesmen Blind Lemon Jefferson or Robert Johnson had in them, yet his lyrics remain sanctified. Johnson swims deep in the broad river of African-American music and delivers his gospel message with unparalleled insistence and immediacy. These cuts are the template for all that followed. Doubters need only listen to Johnson's wordless lament "Dark Was the Night -- Cold Was the Ground," and believers they will be. Karl Hagstrom Miller

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Cub Koda
If you've never heard Blind Willie Johnson, you are in for one of the great, bone-chilling treats in music. Johnson played slide guitar and sang in a rasping, false bass that could freeze the blood. But no bluesman was he; this was gospel music of the highest order, full of emotion and heartfelt commitment. Of all the guitar-playing evangelists, Blind Willie Johnson may have been the very best. Though not related by bloodlines to Robert Johnson, comparisons in the emotional commitment of both men cannot be helped. This two-CD anthology collects everything known to exist, and that's a lot of stark, harrowing, emotional commitment no matter how you slice it. Not for the faint of heart, but hey, the good stuff never is.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/1993
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074645283524
catalogNumber:
52835
Rank:
33128

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The Complete Blind Willie Johnson 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely the one Blind Willie Johnson CD that should be in every blues collection. Willie's vocals are powerful on every track and he also plays the guitar quite well. If you collect blues records, this album needs to go in your collection.