Revisionism and the Blues

Saturday, February 28, 2004
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The New York Times produces an interesting piece on the blues, and especially Robert Johnson.

Robert Johnson left 29 songs and little else, but it was enough. Johnson has long since become the most famous blues singer of all time, reaching a level in the pantheon of American music occupied by figures like Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley. The myths inevitably grew up around him. Most writers who have dealt with him have found it impossible to resist the story of his deal with the devil, or the image of him pursued by “hellhounds.”

But as Johnson’s popularity has grown

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