Jun 20, 2012
Seventy-five years ago today, a major piece of musical history took place in a makeshift studio at the Brunswick Record Building in Dallas, Texas. June 20th, 1937 was the day that a little known blues guitar player named Robert Johnson had his second of two recording sessions that resulted in 13 all-time classic songs, including "Love in Vain", Traveling Rierside Blues" and "Hellhound on My Trail".
This was one of two recording sessions Johnson would do in his brief life. He was dead at 27, allegedly poisoned by a jealous husband of a woman he was seeing. Whether he sold his soul to the devil to become a great guitarist, or merely was a musical genius, his work is among the most influential in the 20th century, and must be considered alongside recordings of Louis Armstrong as seminal American classics.
We celebrate the day by listening to singer Cassandra Wilson's reading of "Hellhound" from her 1993 CD Blue Light 'til Dawn. Musicians on the track include Olu Dara on cornet, Don Byron on clarinet, Charlie Burnham on violin, and Gin Wharton on pedal steel guitar.