Searching For Robert Johnson: Guitar expert spots new photograph on eBay auction
October 9, 2008 12:26 PM Subscribe
...As he pored over the mass of texts and thumbnail photos that the eBay search engine had pulled up on that day in 2005, one strangely worded listing caught Schein’s eye. It read, “Old Snapshot Blues Guitar B.B. King???” He clicked on the link, then took in the sepia-toned image that opened on his monitor. Two young black men stared back at Schein from what seemed to be another time. They stood against a plain backdrop wearing snazzy suits, hats, and self-conscious smiles. The man on the left held a guitar stiffly against his lean frame. Neither man looked like B. B. King, but as Schein studied the figure with the guitar, noticing in particular the extraordinary length of his fingers and the way his left eye seemed narrower and out of sync with his right, it occurred to him that he had stumbled across something significant and rare... the more convinced he became that it depicted one of the most mysterious and mythologized blues artists produced by the Delta: the guitarist, singer, and songwriter whom Eric Clapton once anointed “the most important blues musician who ever lived.” That’s not B. B. King, Schein said to himself. Because it’s Robert Johnson.Searching for Robert Johnson reveals not only what may be the third picture of Robert Johnson but a Byzantine struggle over his legacy as well.
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