Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings
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The Complete Recordings
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|Audio CD, Box set, August 28, 1990||
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This boxed set is in good condition. The box is strong with some minor wear along the bottom edge. The side of the front lid as a crease, but the lid is straight. The back of the box has a crease down the right side, but the lid fits perfectly and the box sits flat. The booklet looks new with no creases, rips, or markings. The CD cases look new and are in great condition with no scuffs, scratches, or cracks. The CDs look new and they play great! No scratches or scuffs. The liner notes and artwork look new. This is a great value for the money!
This two-CD box contains all 41 recordings Johnson made, including 12 alternate takes, and each cut remains a classic. This set's release in 1990 caused quite a stir, selling more than 500,000 copies, and, on the basis of endorsements from Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, introduced a great number of rock fans to Delta blues. Amazingly, Johnson built his enormous legacy on the strength of just two recording sessions: the first session, in November of 1936, produced among others "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Cross Road Blues," and "Walkin' Blues," making it perhaps the most influential single session in blues history. --Marc Greilsamer
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 6.1 x 12.2 x 1.5 inches; 1.11 Pounds
- Manufacturer : Sony Legacy
- Original Release Date : 1990
- Run time : 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Date First Available : October 21, 2006
- Label : Sony Legacy
- ASIN : B000002757
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #149,112 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Johnson did his recording sessions on two different dates, both in hotel rooms facing into the corners of the rooms so his music would bounce back for a fuller sounding recording.
This album has the relatively tinny sound produced by 1930's-era portable recording equipment. Some of the songs sound as though they have been sped up in playback to produce a more exciting recording, and I have read that there is some suspicion that this was done, but there are no other sources to verify this.
The only real weakness to these recordings, in my opinion, is that if Johnson recorded some song, let's call it Song X, at both recording sessions, the two versions are laid out in succession on the album. That is to say, you might hear "Come on in My Kitchen" twice running, then another song once, maybe, then another song twice in a row. I would have preferred it if the producer had put all the recordings from one session followed by all the recordings from the other session so the songs didn't double up like they do. That decision is why I went with a 4 star, rather than a 5 star rating.
I am a big fan of traditional blues music, though, and this recording is as traditional as it gets. If you like this type of music this album certainly belongs in your collection.
There are few hair-raising vocals to match Robert Johnson on "Hellhound On My Trail". His intonation of the word "blues" is astonishing.
The book that comes with the box set is a long read. It's not worth reading unless you're serious about the subject. The discs contain many alternate takes. This removes the set from the 'background music' category. It is not what you play in the background for a party with your friends to show you're 'down' with the Blues.
This is a serious collection for serious students of the Blues. I've read a couple of the Johnson biographies, and I found things in the book included that I didn't know, and the information about the recordings contained a LOT of things I did not know.
As for the CD's, being able to compare and contrast primary and alternate takes on Johnson's work just showcases his talent and versatility as a performer and as an artist. Johnson is universally recognized as one of the great icons of the Blues. If you're be a serious student of the Blues, you NEED this set.
On the other hand, if you just like to listen to his work (and who doesn't?) there are many decent collections available two good ones are "King of the Delta Blues " and "His Recorded Legacy: The 29 Songs." These are more accessible, and both are available on Amazon. These are both good for casual listening.
"You can run, you can run tell my friend-boy Willie Brown Lord, that I'm standin' at the crossroad, babe I believe I'm sinkin' down."
Robert Johnson didn't run though and came back months later to surprise fellow blues musicians Son House and Willie Brown with his newly acquired guitar wizardry. The legend started there and continues today.
Over the years Robert Johnson continues to be a mystery shrouded figure from his guitar skills to his death he was elusive at the time and remains so. The closest one can get to knowing him is through his music and the Complete Recordings has it all.
His songs have been coveredby dozens of performers. Sweet Home Chicago has been recorded at least 139 times, come on in My Kitchen 71 and Love in Vain 36 times. His lyrics although written in the 1930's remain alive and vibrant in today's world as they were at the time.
These recordings made in the 30's are alive and compelling. Robert Johnson was a guitar virtuoso whose work impressed the likes of Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. His voice is eerie and haunting.
These recordings were made in the 1930's, and sound that way so for someone used to modern listening they may be an acquired taste. For someone interested in the history of modern rock, pop or blues these are a must have item, regardless of two similar recordings side by side.
Top reviews from other countries
Now, I had read that, in the early shellac days, recordings would sometimes be speeded up – either to get songs to fit on a disc or to make a performance sound more exciting.
So, I tried an experiment.
Purely for my own use, I utilized some software to slow down the music a little, allowing the pitch to lower accordingly.
Listening to my slower version of the recording, I heard an excellent, rich baritone voice and well-phrased guitar-playing which was complex and melodic and well within the capabilities of today's better guitarists.
So, I have a choice. I can listen to the discs as they sounded to buyers in the 1930's; or I can listen to what I like to think live audiences heard in the 1930's.
I listen to the slower versions. Pure magic!
This set doesn't disappoint me in the least - As Mr Davies-Jones has stated so admirably in his review, all his recordings are here, some stacked one on top of the other so you can get a feel for the way his music developed in the short time he was recording.
And Kevyns comment about "Come into my Kitchen"?
The opening 30 seconds on the first take made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Absolutely electrifying, and the words are well..... you'll have to buy the set because simply writing them down can't do them justice.
£4.46 for 40 tracks?
I didn't have to think about it.
If you like early American acoustic blues,and you don't have it in your collection, this set is well worth the money.