The Ghost of the Blues: 100 Years of Robert Johnson

While this blog focuses on live music, I recently received a CD in the mail filled with some really good blues and felt compelled to fill you in on it.

The disk, 100 Years of Robert Johnson by Big Head Blues Club, is the end result of collaborations between Big Head Todd and The Monsters with blues heroes like B.B. King and Hubert Sumlin, among others.

It’s a collection of the classic tunes written by Johnson a century ago that virtually invented the blues, rethought, reworked and recorded by those who carry the torch into the present day.

Still, even with the addition of a full band and electric instruments, the recordings retain that mystical earthy grit that firmly lodged Johnson’s blues into our collective consciousness. This is no half-hearted cover album produced for a quick buck. This is the culmination of great musicians with immense love and respect for the blues looking to pay homage to one of their heroes.

One of the things that make this album stand out is the vocal work. Haunting vocals on tracks like “Cross Road Blues,” and “Sweet Home Chicago,” even the nonsense syllables in “Come On In My Kitchen,” are dripping in heartfelt emotional expression. The ghost of the blues is somewhere in there. You can hear him when you close your eyes and listen.

For a blues fan, this disk is a treat. Listen to some clips here.

-Chris Lazaga

 

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About clazaga5

I am a music writer. I graduated from FIU's School of Journalism and Mass Communications in April, 2011. I've always had a passion for music. Since high school, I've been involved in a few bands and written a good number of original songs. I loved going to shows and seeing live music. So when the notion struck me to combine the two, it seemed only logical that I write about live music when and wherever I find it. This blog is what came of that notion.
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