1936, Robert Johnson recorded his songs for the first time in San Antonio,Texas.
This first of two sessions was unceremoniously squeezed betweenW.Lee O'Daniel
& His Hillbilly Boys the day before, and Hermanas Barazacon guitarras
the day after. Yet out of this modest recording session,after which Robert
Johnson collected his money and disappeared again intothe wilds of the
Mississippi Delta, came a powerful and unique sound whichforever changed
music in America.
The vitality of Robert Johnson's musichas been reaffirmed by the many remakes of his songs, from such diverseartists as Lee Roy Parnell to Eric Clapton to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.Moreover, his music influenced artists such as Muddy Waters, who in turnadvanced the birth of rock'n'roll. But it is not just Johnson's incredibleguitar playing or fantastically expressive singing which deserves homage.His lyrics, which are commonly considered as only context to his music,are actually rich, tightly wrought poems worthy of intense literary examination.
This is the objective of Victor Cabas'ENTC 385 class, Mississippi in Story and Songs, at the University of Virginia. Mr. Cabas created the class "as an excuse to teachRobert Johnson," and the class's papers which come out of a periodof listening to and recording observations in a literary notebook on Johnson'ssongs are often the best that he gets for the entire session. The studentsanalyze Johnson's songs for devices such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor,simile, and even scan a stanza to get a feeling for each song's uniquemeter.
This web site is designed to be not justa resource for material on Robert Johnson, for there are several of thoseon the WWW already. Instead, this site highlights the power of Robert Johnson'swords which are still resonant in contemporary America.
Site by Courtney Danforth and Adriana Rissetto