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Complete Recordings

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The Complete Recordings
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Audio CD, October 8, 1996
$7.24 $0.24

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002ADN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,311 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Kind Hearted Woman Blues (take 1)
2. Kind Hearted Woman Blues (take 2)
3. I Believe I'll Dust My Broom
4. Sweet Home Chicago
5. Ramblin' On My Mind (take 1)
6. Ramblin' On My Mind (take 2)
7. When You Got A Good Friend (take 1)
8. When You Got A Good Friend (take 2)
9. Come On In My Kitchen (take 1)
10. Come On In My Kitchen (take 2)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)
2. If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day
3. Stones In My Passway
4. I'm A Steady Rollin' Man
5. From Four Until Late
6. Hell Hound On My Trail
7. Little Queen Of Spades (take 1)
8. Little Queen Of Spades (take 2)
9. Malted Milk
10. Drunken Hearted Man (take 1)
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Improved sound.Newly discovered sources.20 Bit Mastered. Comprehensive liner notes, track info and historic photos. einigen besser erhaltenen 78ern und in einem neuen Digitalverfahren gemastert wurden. Exzellente Qualität / 'This collection is the definitive set of Robert Johnson records - it contains every existing master and alternate take of every song Johnson recorded over 50 years ago.' New sources, new digital mastering for improved sound quality.Medium 1
  1. Kind Hearted Woman Blues
  2. Kind Hearted Woman Blues
  3. I Believe I'll Dust My Broom
  4. Sweet Home Chicago
  5. Rambling On My Mind
  6. Rambling On My Mind
  7. When You Got A Good Friend
  8. When You Got A Good Friend
  9. Come On In My Kitchen
  10. Come On In My Kitchen
  11. Terraplane Blues
  12. Phonograph Blues
  13. Phonograph Blues
  14. 32-20 Blues
  15. They're Red Hot
  16. Dead Shrimp Blues
  17. Cross Road Blues
  18. Cross Road Blues
  19. Walking Blues
  20. Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Medium 2
  1. If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day
  2. Stones In My Passway
  3. I'm A Steady Rolling Man
  4. From Four Until Late
  5. Hell Hound On My Trail
  6. Little Queen Of Spades
  7. Little Queen Of Spades
  8. Malted Milk
  9. Drunken Hearted Man
  10. Drunken Hearted Man
  11. Me And The Devil Blues
  12. Me And The Devil Blues
  13. Stop Breaking Down Blues
  14. Stop Breaking Down Blues
  15. Travelling Riverside Blues
  16. Honeymoon Blues
  17. Love In Vain Blues
  18. Love In Vain Blues
  19. Milkcow's Calf Blues
  20. Milkcow's Calf Blues


The forty-one tracks Robert Johnson recorded in Dallas and San Antonio in 193~37-his entire known recorded legacy collected by Columbia on two discs-provide the astonishment of seeing the Taj Mahal float by on a purple cloud. His tenor and falsetto tell you of the complicated emotions harbored by an acutely perceptive blues musician in the denigratory South; so does his guitar playing, which amazingly often mixes leads with chords. Johnson's thematic lyrics-further bespeaking his restlessness, fatalism, and defiance-are stately in their imagery. Twelve alternate takes are as stunning as the originals. The music, somehow, further benefits from the digital restoration and engineering of one Frank Abbey. Incidentally, the value of the forty-two-page accompanying booklet is subject to debate -- © Frank John Hadley 1993 -- From Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD

Customer Reviews

A "must have" cd in any collection.
A Robert Johnson fan for life!
The story of Robert Johnson is that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the talent at playing blues.
This is as good a description of listening to Johnson as I can think of.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 130 people found the following review helpful By happydogpotatohead VINE VOICE on June 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The irony of Robert Johnson's superstar status is hard to miss. He was almost completely ignored by the music-buying public of his day, even in the market his records were aimed at. Yet in the present day, he's practically the only country blues artist most people know about. On one level, this is because of relentless championing by other blues artists, not least Eric Clapton. On another level, Johnson's fame rests on the fact that he was able to write, or more properly pull together from his various mentors and influences, his songs and make them complete unto themselves. His songs have made an impact, and have been covered time and again by countless artists. That counts for something.
Part of who Robert Johnson was as a singer and songwriter is obscured by his legend, which has been retold so often it borders on cliche. But even after the hype has been dismissed, this box set shows Johnson as a powerful, innovative, soulful blues man, a great performer and a great songwriter (in the context of blues songwriting) with his own unique sound.
Johnson was not without his influences, and if he had lived he would have told you that himself. However, the interesting thing was that he managed to transform his influences and personalize them into his own vision of the blues, a blues that was one of the first steps away from country blues toward city blues - a vision that would eventually become Chicago blues.
It has been fashionable in blues circles to put Robert Johnson down recently, and to gripe about how Johnson's influences should be as well known as he is. This is a valid point. However, Johnson became an influence himself, and as such, he still deserves a good deal of respect.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Docendo Discimus on February 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Robert Johnson may not have been the king of the blues (that title belongs forever to the great Son House), and he certainly didn't invent the idiom, but he was an amazing talent, a magnificent guitar player, and an awesome songwriter whose best songs hold a simultaneous beauty and terror which no songwriters really seem capable of achieving anymore.

This is the ultimate collection of his works; all of Robert Johnson's 29 Vocalion singles, impressive sound, and the best annotation anywhere.
Here you'll find the original versions of "Sweet Home Chicago", "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", "Crossroads Blues", "Rambling On My Mind", "Come On In My Kitchen", "Terraplane Blues", "Stop Breakin' Down", "I'm A Steady Rollin' Man", and "Love In Vain", as well as lesser-known gems like "From Four Till Late", "When You Got A Good Friend", and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down".
Johnson's version of "Walking Blues" is here as well, an adaptation of Son House's 1930 single "My Black Mama pt. II" (not the song that House called "Walking Blues"), and the fine remastering allows the listener to hear every phrase and every chord and every one of Johnson's quicksilver slide guitar licks.

Great as it is, this is not really meant to be listened to in one long sitting. It is just one man and a guitar, after all, and it wears a bit thin after the first hour. But don't discount Robert Johnson just because of that, or because you're sick of hearing Johnson-worshipping guitarists like Eric Clapton rave about him. It is true that Robert Johnson wasn't a particularly influential artist back when he was alive, most people had never heard of him, and wouldn't hear of him until the 60s when his music was reissued, and in that respect he may be said to be overrated.
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79 of 88 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2" on January 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD
First of all, I took one star off not because I don't think Robert Johnson was a transcendent genius (because I do think that), but because, since his legacy clearly _had_ to be collected and remastered and boxed up in a convenient form, it's a damn shame that they had to make such a bad job of it. The lack of the fifth star is a finger-wag to CBS-Sony, not a rebuke to Johnson.
It's all true, in case you were wondering - Robert Johnson really was the most entrancingly scary and affecting and emotional and technically accomplished Delta blues singer ever recorded. His guitar playing is quite extraordinary; Keith Richards reports in the liner notes that when he first heard Johnson (in Brian Jones' flat) he wondered who the second guitarist was. There wasn't one. Johnson could drive the rhythm and play spooky lead lines at the same time, to a degree that nobody has been able to match. He also had a remarkable voice, veering from slyly lascivious to painfully sad to hell-haunted, depending on the nature of the song. And this is one of the main points about his work.
He was a pro. He wasn't just some unusually spooked country boy, although he was clearly obsessed with themes of damnation and vengeance. He could, by all accounts, play whatever he wanted - a tune as innocuous as "My Blue Heaven" is said to have been in his repertoire. The best glimpse we get of the party-dude side of Johnson is his sprightly "They're Red Hot", which sounds like nothing else on the whole album. But fans agree that his best stuff is about lonely roads at twilight and the feeling that he will never get home, or that if he does, there is only something worse there waiting for him.
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