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DescriptionEven with just forty-one recordings to his credit, Robert Johnson (1911-38) is a towering figure in the history of the blues. His vast influence on twentieth-century American music, combined with his mysterious death at the age of twenty-seven, still encourage the speculation and myth that have long obscured the facts about his life. The most famous legend depicts a young Johnson meeting the Devil at a dusty Mississippi crossroads at midnight and selling his soul in exchange for prodigious guitar skills. Barry Lee Pearson and Bill McCulloch examine the full range of writings about Johnson and weigh the conflicting accounts of Johnson's life story against interviews with blues musicians and others who knew the man. Their extensive research uncovers a life every bit as compelling as the fabrications and exaggerations that have sprung up around it. In examining the bluesman's life and music, and the ways in which both have been reinvented and interpreted by other artists, critics, and fans, Robert Johnson: Lost and Found charts the cultural forces that have mediated the expression of African American artistic traditions.
University of Illinois Press
18 March 2008
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