King of the Delta Blues Singers: Robert Johnson Essay

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King of the Delta Blues Singers: Robert Johnson The life of Robert Johnson, one of the most influential early blues artists, in shrouded by vague details and encompassed in mystery. His emotion filled playing and singing blends to form some of the most moving, original blues music ever produced. Ironically, despite being one of the top influences to blues music, little is known about the shy, mild mannered bluesman. "Almost nothing, is known about his life… he is only a name on a few recordings." Where did he come from? Who was Johnson’s family. Who inspired Robert to play the blues and who influenced his music? Who exactly was Robert Johnson? Only the vague recollections of his friends and family link us to the mysterious life of…show more content…
As a young boy, Robert was faced by terrible oppression of all sorts. The white community utilized terror as a means to subdue the African American families of the time. "Racism held sway over the land. Like a plague destroyed the hopes, and beliefs of the black community." (Finn, 211) As a young boy living on cotton plantations, Robert witnessed the harsh treatment of fellow black African Americans. The cruel treatment of the plantation owners continued into daily life where Johnson was received as inferior by the white general public. He received unjust segregated treatment as a result of his black skin. As a small child he watched in amazement to the powerful music of the bluesmen. In beautiful song they captured the pain of injustice which Robert, as well as most other African Americans of the time, had been forced to endure all their lives. Young Robert was intrigued by these men, and dreamed of one day singing the blues himself. His half brother Charles taught him the basics on guitar yet Johnson’s most influential teacher was the famous bluesman, Son House. Son House was a student of Charlie Patton, one of the first well known Delta Blues musicians. Son also had also learned quite a bit from a gentlemen referred to as Lemon, a name given to him for the fact that he had learned every Blind Lemon piece directly from the phonograph (Blind Lemon is was one of the first Mississippi Delta bluesmen). Son’s playing largely resembled

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