‘King of the Delta Blues Singers’ is a compilation album by American blues musician Robert Johnson consisting of songs recorded in San Antonio and Dallas, TX in 1936 and 1937. The album was released in 1961 on Columbia Records and is considered one of the greatest and most influential blues releases ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 27 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
For those unaware of the legend of Robert Johnson, a popular Faustian myth tells a story of a mediocre guitar and harmonica player with a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a Mississippi crossroads at midnight, where he was met by the devil himself who took the guitar and tuned it. The devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson in exchange for his very soul, giving him mastery of the instrument.
Johnson died on August 16, 1938 at the age of 27, becoming the first in a long list of genius musicians who passed away at the same age, known as “the 27 club” (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse). According to one theory, Johnson was murdered by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted, reportedly offering Johnson a bottle of whiskey laced with strychnine.
This limited picture disc version of the album was released in 2017 and features the iconic image from the cover art - a hauntingly powerful overhead shot of Johnson painted by artist Burt Goldblatt. I learned of its existence from my friend @______zina____ who’s a fellow blues music maven and incredible artist in her own right! (check out her work and buy something) I tracked down a copy for myself and lovin it so thanks, Zina!
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