He is reckoned by many to be the very best Blues guitar player in the world. As a guitarist with over thirty years of playing experience I must agree.
I would say that Robert is the most dexterous and followed by Jimi Hendrix. There is no guitarist alive who can demonstrate an originality of Blues
like these two players, nowhere near.
Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and just about every performer who has any link to the Blues KNOW how good this guy was. He is the famous guitarists'
guitarist. LOOK how long his fingers are!
There is a huge thing, especially in Blues music, but has even manifested in modern popular music about the selling of one's soul for fame and glory.
We have seen it on the conspiracy sites constantly (though it has simmered down a little recently). It doesn't help with the strange phenomena of the
"27 Club". I must admit that all those artists that died at that age were of the highest originality in their genres. I find them all to be of great
interest as originators and very imaginative artistic people of the highest caliber. If I start saying names like Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Janis
Joplin, Nick Drake, Kurt Cobain, well I don't need to prove my point any further do I.
Robert Johnson himself died at age 27 and is the original in this "27" business: The Wiki articles sums this up:
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and
1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson's shadowy and
poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend. One Faustian myth says that he sold his soul to the devil at a local
crossroads of Mississippi highways to achieve success. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday
night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.
Now I am taking you to the Crossroads, dear reader.
You know all this spell needs to be broken. It became too much of a self fulfilling prophesy. I believe the Devil crept into the detail quite
literally. All the Bluesmen referred to Robert Johnson as "Legba". We now have a clue. What is this Legba?:
Papa Legba is a loa in Haitian Vodou, who serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity. He stands at a spiritual CROSSROADS (my
emphasis) and gives (or denies) permission to speak with the spirits of Guinee, and is believed to speak all human languages. In Haiti, he is the
great elocutioner. Legba facilitates communication, speech, and understanding.
In Vodou, Guinee is the spirit world. It is where the souls of the dead live. It is controlled by the loa Baron Samedi, believed to be the symbol
of life and death.
Putting this together, which many others I am sure have, too, we find that Johnson has preserved in his music and his own myth the old beliefs of the
Africans that came to the U.S in the slave trade. We know that they were ruthlessly stripped of their own belief systems and banned from any of their
traditional cultural practices for hundreds of years under the yoke of slavery. Yet, somehow, these old beliefs survived much like Paganism tried to
in the Christian West. I don't think Robert Johnson understood what he was playing with totally. He may have been so alienated from the original
meaning through whip and indoctrination that he, like the churches of that time, may have thought of it as rebellion and even as selling his soul to
the Devil because by that time the cultural damage had been done and the people almost entirely dispossessed out in the open of their culture by
brutal oppression and cultural genocide. Yet in these pockets of the South U.S and the Islands the old ways of the Ancestors survived as hybrid
Pagan/Christian religions of Hoodoo and Vodou.
Or perhaps even Johnson has played a deliberate game on us all for what happened to his people. Papa Legba came to town disguised as Robert Johnson to
put things straight...perhaps?
Even at the mention of those terms "Voodoo" and "Hoodoo" it conjures up visions for many of African witchcraft and spell casting, sexual rituals and
Devil practices. Indeed, in the West African culture has been demonized, but that happened to our own folk cultures long ago, too, when the invaders
came and colonized, demonizing our ancestors and banning their culture and worship practices.
The Devil has indeed stepped in for those who did not recognize Papa Legba and called him the Devil. In their naivety many have misunderstood I
expect. Yet many have not. Many artists have discovered what I have discovered. Yet the unwary have bargained with the Devil, insulting the African
Ancestors by calling them the Devil and without even knowing it become a victim of the revenge upon colonization that its own misunderstanding indeed
reaped as it sowed by destroying so barbarically a people and enslaving them.
Yes, Papa Legba got his laugh. Be careful who we call a devil and be wary why somebody might want to demonize a whole people and culture before our
very eyes. I hope this provides an interesting perspective on cultural misunderstandings and loss of knowledge that gets somehow half remembered,
aided by secrecy, occult strategy and clever weaving into stories the initiated will have a hope of understanding.
I, myself, have been at times deceived and have called Vodou the enemy when it is just the old ways of the ancestors that a people have a right to
remember as sacred to their journey and development and really must respect that it tells a story of brutal spiritual and cultural oppression. See how
easy it is to demonize somebody or even a whole people. We are still learning. I am learning.
Now I am freed from Papa Legba's punishment for what occurred back then. He has reached me and the truth is told about him. I am no longer a zombie of
misunderstanding, sabotaged in my education into believing propaganda so as to be a zombie pawn in the oppression game.
Does Peter's song now tell a story to you? It does for me. People are still laughing and say I back a clown when I say Peter was and is a very
important man for all people in our lessons we must learn in our lives if we do not want to keep repeating Brutal History:
"Until that day the dream of lasting peace shall remain a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained". Yes, King Haile and Bob, we must all
EDIT: I never sold myself to the Devil for my music. His trickery did not deceive me. I always thought that there was more to the story. I just had to
wait and study for many years and the answer would come at the right time. I have just initiated you all into this understanding, too, so you are free
of that ignorance as I am.
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I am writing this as a Christian. It is not a rant against Christ, because the colonizers and slave traders, slave owners and all the oppressors of
the day did the very opposite of what Christ taught. I am just evaluating the history that has caused all the social damage. The true treasure of life
is a clear view with no baggage and an appreciation of the freedom we now have. Let's face it even so called good Christian church people were duped
and hood-winked into the downpressing game. Bob Dylan demonstrated that in his song, "Only A Pawn In Their Game":
I think we are all pawns in our own and everyone else's games.
We cause trouble and the trouble comes back to cause us trouble later on down the rail road track "toot toot!". It is actually traceable.
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