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The Complete Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: 1902 in Marlin, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s

Seminal gospel-blues artist Blind Willie Johnson is regarded as one of the greatest bottleneck slide guitarists. Yet the Texas street-corner evangelist is known as much for the his powerful and fervent gruff voice as he is for his ability as a guitarist. He most often sang in a rough, bass voice (only occasionally delivering in his natural tenor) with a volume meant to be heard over the sounds of the streets. Johnson recorded a total of 30 songs during a three-year period and many of these became...
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