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Dark Was The Night (Mojo Workin'- Blues For The Next Generation)

Dark Was The Night (Mojo Workin'- Blues For The Next Generation)

June 30, 1998

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: June 30, 1998
  • Release Date: June 30, 1998
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 50:31
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00138J7J8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,097 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
Robert Johnson is also great but NOBODY matches the Soul and Intensity of Blind Willie!
Rev KM Williams
I think Wim Wenders is correct when he says that this music will teach you more about the American experience than just any history book.
Fred McGhee
The female harmonic vocal is very powerful and moving, it gives Johnson's music a haunting and disquiet feel.
almosthappy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Hicks on July 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The study of classic acoustic slide guitar technique begins here. Blind Willie Johnson, a street preacher in Beaumont, Texas, was the unmatched practitioner with his pocket-knife slide and open tunings. That he incorporated the blues idiom into his gospel convictions was compelling in itself. Blind Willie sang with enormous angst, describing the Christian life as a struggle, and declaring himself to be an overcomer regardless of what others thought. There is nothing here that will satisfy the 'health & wealth' gospelers; Johnson's gritty, practical holiness condemns such extravagances. This particular issue, a 20-bit digital remapping of the old 78's, is exceptionally clear. While every track is potent, 'God Moves On The Water' (about the sinking of the Titanic) contains riffs and runs that are antecedent to today's rock guitar. Highly recommended for those interested in roots music and alternative gospel.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By almosthappy VINE VOICE on February 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Blind Willie Johnson is different. You can actually detect his regret,his anguish, and his utmost yearning for salvation in hissandpaper-like voice, his superb slide-guitar playing and his songwriting. All the songs on this CD are great. They are, yes, very spiritual and religous. But they don't sound and feel like some religious nutcase preaching the end is coming and those who believe in God will be saved and be placed in somwhere up in the sky where everything is fine and jolly, yada, yada, yada... Johnson sounds REAL. He sounds like someone who doesn't really care about his audience. He would probably sing those songs of his even if there's no one around.
Johnson has a great voice(think along the lines of Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits). You might not enjoy it on the first try, but it sort of stuck on your mind and won't let you go. I'm no expert in blues, but these songs sound very different from what you'd usually consider to be "blues"(I guess Muddy Water and his followers would fall into this realm). The female harmonic vocal is very powerful and moving, it gives Johnson's music a haunting and disquiet feel. I highly recommend you to try it, regardless of your view on religion.
One suggestion, you might want to go straightly to the Complete Recording of BWJ. I had the this first and then purchased the Complete set, now I don't know what to do with the this condensed version.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Fred McGhee on October 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The PBS series "The Blues" will hopefully introduce the work of Blind Willie Johnson to a mass audience. Recognition of this man and his contribution to American culture is long overdue. "Dark Was The Night" is the best and most affordable introduction to Blind Willie Johnson. The complete collection two disc set is pretty much for completists only.
That said, if you have never heard this music before, be sure to prepare yourself, because the spiritual force and gravity of this music may leave you exhausted and perhaps even frightened. Johnson's voice is one of the most unique and haunting instruments to have ever been recorded. The man's singing bespeaks experiences and a life lived that is almost too painful to contemplate. The lyrics of these songs are almost transcendentally poetic...the religious imagery is used to ask the most fundamental of philosophical questions. The female accompaniment of these songs only makes them a more poignant commentary on the human condition. Johnson's guitar work is similar in nature. In combination, this music is about as raw and emotive as human musical production can get. I think Wim Wenders is correct when he says that this music will teach you more about the American experience than just any history book. And Ry Cooder is surely right in his observations about this music.
These songs strip it and you bare; you simply have no place to hide. You will get ripped to shreds, ponder the nature of existence, and then eventually get "healed" as John Lee Hooker famously sang not too long ago. This is "deep" blues, about as deep as the blues and gospel can get.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Docendo Discimus on June 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

You wouldn't think Willie Johnson's gruff faux-bass growl could be beautiful, but his singing is so incredibly powerful and sincere, and so are his songs. His music is very melodic, and his slide guitar playing is unsurpassed even today - just listen to Johnson's pocket knife coaxing the most wonderful sounds from the steel strings on "You'll Need Somebody On Your Bond" and "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine".

This is not blues, mind you, even though there's sometimes only a fine line between 'Blind' Willie Johnson's brand of gospel and the country blues of men like Son House and Charley Patton. But gospel it is, and Johnson (and his wife) turn in fabulous renditions of "Praise God I'm Satisfied", "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning" and the awesome "The Soul Of A Man"."Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying" ventures into the blues idiom, but virtually all of Johnson's songs were strictly religious, songs about the hope of a better world than this one, in which Johnson laid on his bed of wet, bundled-up newspapers and slept after his house had burned down, contracted pneumonia, and died while only in his forties.

'Blind' Willie Johnson's singing and playing is powerful and strongly rhytmic, much more so than you would expect from a man who was essentially a gospel singer, but you can't help but imagine the big, thundering beat of a drummer keeping the rhythm section going behind him.

His rough, gravelly voice is awesome to hear, and it comes as a genuine surprise when he suddenly delivers in his own natural tenor on a few tracks, such as the classic "Let Your Light Shine On Me".

Only the awe of listening to Son House in his prime can be compared with the experience of hearing 'Blind' Willie Johnson doing "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed" or "Dark Was The Night (cold was the ground)" for the first time.
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