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Bluesman Tommy Johnson gets some respect
October 25, 2012 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman Tommy Johnson is finally getting a headstone on his grave, more than a half century after his death. Recommended celebratory listening, then, is this 9-song YouTube playlist, which starts out with "Cool Drink of Water Blues" (a shining example of Johnson's quavering falsetto - "looooooord, lordy looooord") and continuing with pre-war blues classics like his "Big Road Blues", "Big Fat Mama Blues", "Canned Heat Blues" and more.
posted by flapjax at midnite (9 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
It usually takes no more than the first four words for me to spot a flapjax post.
posted by timsteil at 8:17 PM on October 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks, I was wandering around Spotify and needed a compass to point me into the right genre for this evening...
posted by HuronBob at 8:21 PM on October 25, 2012


I was just thinking that. "Legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman yeah I'm going to click all these links aww yiss thanks flapjax."

Which is all to say, aww yiss and thanks flapjax.
posted by mhoye at 8:21 PM on October 25, 2012


Here's a picture, at Flickr, of the gravestone, taken where it has resided for a few years (as mentioned in the linked article) at a library in Crystal Springs, Mississippi.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:41 PM on October 25, 2012


He gets so much out of so little on that guitar part on Cool Drink of Water. Not to mention Mr. Charlie McCoy's mandolin style trills. Judging from who covered whose songs, it can be argued that Tommy was the Johnson who had more influence on Mississippi blues than Robert.
posted by y2karl at 12:29 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


They put up a new headstone
A new headstone on my grave
They put up a new headstone
A new headstone on my grave
And the town is renovating
Renovating cemetery lane.

If you walk up here to see me
See me lying in the ground
If you walk up here to see me
See me lying in the ground
Bring a bottle and I’ll walk you
Walk you back on in to town.
posted by pracowity at 12:31 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And this is a drum I have beaten here often -- it was Tommy Johnson, not Robert, who claimed he went to the crossroads and met a big black man who took his guitar and tuned it and handed it back to him.
posted by y2karl at 12:39 AM on October 26, 2012


Because even the devil can't stand listening to a guy playing an out-of-tune guitar. "Gimme that, motherfucker. Now listen. A...A... can you hear that? Two strings; same note. Now D... D... see how they sound the same when you turn this key just... far... enough? Now you try it."
posted by pracowity at 1:47 AM on October 26, 2012


Um, but... but... G.... G... Johnson, on record, played a guitar tuned to Standard or Open G, but not in Open D. And the devil in the details in the crossroads link above was not the devil we know. /nitpicking
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2012


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