Robert Johnson - The Centennial Collection: The Complete Recordings

Record Store Day 2017 3LP Vinyl Records + Download

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The Centennial Collection: The Complete Recordings is a vinyl compilation album by American blues musician Robert Johnson, released for Record Store Day in April 2017 via Columbia Records.

Robert Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician who was an itinerant performer playing mostly on street corners, juke joints and Saturday night dances, and is regarded as the “king” of the Delta blues.

In 1936 and 1937, Robert Johnson recorded two sessions of Delta blues that would profoundly shape the course of rock music over the 20th Century.

Around 1936 with the help of H. C. Speir, Johnson was put in touch with the American Record Company (ARC) group of labels and introduced to producer Don Law who went on to record his first sessions in San Antonio, Texas.

The first recording session was held on 23 November 1936, in the Gunter Hotel, Room 414, in which Brunswick Records had set up to be a temporary recording studio. During the ensuing three-day recording session, Johnson played 16 selections and recorded alternate takes for most of them. He reportedly performed facing the wall, which has been cited as evidence he was a shy man and reserved performer. This conclusion was played up in the inaccurate liner notes of the 1961 album King of the Delta Blues Singers. The slide guitarist Ry Cooder speculates that Johnson played facing a corner to enhance the sound of the guitar, a technique he calls "corner loading".

Songs Johnson recorded in the San Antonio sessions included "Come On in My Kitchen", "Kind Hearted Woman Blues", "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Cross Road Blues". The first recordings to be released were "Terraplane Blues" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", on a 78 RPM Shellac single. These were probably the only recordings of his that he would live to hear. "Terraplane Blues" became a modest regional hit, selling 5,000 copies.

In 1937, Johnson travelled to Dallas, Texas, for the second recording session with Don Law in a makeshift studio at the Vitagraph (Warner Brothers) Building, at 508 Park Avenue, where Brunswick Record Corporation was located on the third floor. Eleven records from these sessions on the 19th and 20th of June 1937, would be released within the following year. Johnson did two takes of most of these songs, and recordings of those alternate takes survived. Because of this, there is more opportunity to compare different performances of a single song by Johnson than for any other blues performer of his time and place. Johnson recorded almost half of the 29 songs that make up his entire discography in Dallas.

In contrast to most Delta players, Johnson had absorbed the idea of fitting a composed song into the three minutes of a 78-rpm side. This is showcased in his second set of recordings from which most of Johnson's "sombre and introspective" songs and performances come from.

While Robert Johnson's professional recording career can be measured in months, his musical legacy has survived more than 70 years. Two Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, have their roots in the Delta: both knew Robert Johnson, and were heavily influenced by him. Johnson's emotive vocals, combined with his varied and masterful guitar playing, continue to influence blues and popular music performers to this day.

In 2004, Eric Clapton recorded an album of Johnson cover songs Me and Mr. Johnson as a tribute to the legendary bluesman, whom he regards as "the most important blues musician who ever lived”. The album reached #6 on the US Billboard 200 and has sold more than 563,000 copies in the United States alone. Other artists influenced by Johnson’s music include Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Chain, Dutch Tilders, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, Todd Rundgren, Keb Mo', Taj Mahal, George Thorogood, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Jack White, Status Quo, Junior Parker and Bob Dylan.

The Complete Recordings: The Centennial Collection is the ultimate document of these ground breaking recording sessions. All 42 known recordings are remastered on 3 LP vinyl records, packaged in a deluxe tri-fold jacket including extensive liner notes. It is the first time Johnson’s complete recorded works are available in one vinyl package. This set also includes an exclusive bonus poster featuring the original labels of Johnson’s 78 RPM singles, released by Vocalion 80 years ago.

Check out a couple of Robert Johnson recordings here:  Kind Hearted Woman Blues; I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom; Sweet Home Chicago; Terraplane Blues; Cross Road Blues; Phonograph Blues; and Come On In My Kitchen.

This triple album 3LP record set is a 2017 Record Store Day limited edition of 2,500 individually numbered copies on black vinyl housed in a tri-fold sleeve with bonus poster, featuring remastered audio and digital download code, pressed in Europe.

(889853747610)

Tracklisting:

 

No.

Title

Time

San Antonio Recordings:

A1

Kind Hearted Woman Blues

2:55

A2

I Believe I'll Dust My Broom

3:02

A3

Sweet Home Chicago

3:02

A4

Ramblin' On My Mind

2:25

A5

When You Got A Good Friend

2:41

A6

Come On In My Kitchen

2:47

A7

Terraplane Blues

3:03

B1

Phonograph Blues

2:43

B2

32-20 Blues

2:53

B3

They're Red Hot

3:02

B4

Dead Shrimp Blues

2:35

B5

Cross Road Blues

2:43

B6

Walkin' Blues

2:33

B7

Last Fair Deal Gone Down

2:41

C1

Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)

2:55

C2

If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day

2:40

 

Alternates:

C3

Kind Hearted Woman Blues

2:33

C4

Ramblin' On My Mind

2:55

C5

When You Got A Good Friend

2:55

C6

Come On In My Kitchen

2:55

C7

Phonograph Blues

2:37

D1

Cross Road Blues

2:32

 

Dallas Recordings:

D2

Stones In My Passway

2:32

D3

I'm A Steady Rollin' Man

2:40

D4

From Four Until Late

2:28

D5

Hell Hound On My Trail

2:40

D6

Little Queen Of Spades

2:16

D7

Malted Milk

2:25

E1

Drunken Hearted Man

2:32

E2

Me And The Devil Blues

2:38

E3

Stop Breakin' Down Blues

2:26

E4

Traveling Riverside Blues

2:43

E5

Honeymoon Blues

2:21

E6

Love In Vain Blues

2:21

E7

Milkcow's Calf Blues

2:26

 

Alternates:

F1

Little Queen Of Spades

2:24

F2

Drunken Hearted Man

2:31

F3

Me And The Devil Blues

2:37

F4

Stop Breakin' Down Blues

2:21

F5

Traveling Riverside Blues

2:56

F6

Love In Vain Blues

2:29

F7

Milkcow's Calf Blues

2:19

SKU 889853747610
Record Label Columbia Records
Label / Model # Sony
Catalogue Number 88985374761
Country EU - Europe
Release Date (Year) 22 April 2017
Original Release Date (Year) 26 April 2011
Barcode # 889853747610
Shipping Weight 0.7150kg
Shipping Width 0.015m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.001479000m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition Triple Album 3LP Records, Black Vinyl, Triple Gatefold Sleeve, Boonus Poster, Digital Download Code, Remastered Audio, 2017 Record Store Day Exclusive, Limited to 2,500 Copies, Individually Numbered, Includes all known 42 recordings
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Blues
Genre Delta Blues
Format VINYL LP

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