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location of Robert Johnson's crossroads

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IF I HAD POSSESSION OVER JUDGMENT DAY
LOVE IN VAIN


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jmeng@accessus.net 26 Jan 99 - 04:39 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 99 - 04:52 PM
dwditty 27 Jan 99 - 05:43 AM
Guy Wolff 27 Jan 99 - 05:14 PM
Jon Bartlett 28 Jan 99 - 04:11 PM
catspaw49 28 Jan 99 - 05:21 PM
Ronn 01 Feb 99 - 10:31 AM
02 Feb 99 - 10:51 AM
02 Feb 99 - 11:34 AM
Max 02 Feb 99 - 12:08 PM
Max 02 Feb 99 - 12:11 PM
Max 02 Feb 99 - 04:43 PM
Brian Hoskin 03 Feb 99 - 03:05 AM
Steve Latimer 03 Feb 99 - 08:55 AM
rick fielding 03 Feb 99 - 10:50 AM
Ronn 03 Feb 99 - 11:38 PM
Brian Hoskin 04 Feb 99 - 03:29 AM
Jerry Friedman 04 Feb 99 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,TMD 26 Feb 08 - 11:49 PM
open mike 27 Feb 08 - 02:39 AM
Jack Campin 27 Feb 08 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 27 Feb 08 - 08:31 AM
Mr Happy 27 Feb 08 - 08:34 AM
Rusty Dobro 27 Feb 08 - 11:07 AM
Peace 27 Feb 08 - 11:34 AM
Les from Hull 27 Feb 08 - 11:34 AM
SouthernCelt 27 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM
Les in Chorlton 27 Feb 08 - 01:35 PM
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Subject: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: jmeng@accessus.net
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 04:39 PM

I am curious if anyone knows the actual location of the crossroads where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul. I assume it's somewhere in central or northwestern Mississippi, but if anyone knows its exact location I would like to know since I'll be going to Mississippi soon to visit the Robert Johnson-related sites.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 99 - 04:52 PM

This question comes up regularly, as one might suspect. Click here for the answer. Be forewarned, however, that when you ask a question at Mudcat, you'll never get a short answer.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: dwditty
Date: 27 Jan 99 - 05:43 AM

Jmeng, I suggest viewing the video, Searching for Robert Johnson, hosted by John Hammond. He tours the Delta interviewing those who knew Robert, including Willie Mae! It is worth finding this video - some great music, too.
DW


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 27 Jan 99 - 05:14 PM

The crossroads is everywhere peaple make the joice between good and bad.Where is the tree of the garden of Eden? Sorry. I love talking about free will. .....cheers...


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 28 Jan 99 - 04:11 PM

Next question: "The sunny side of street?"


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Jan 99 - 05:21 PM

Meant to post this here but I whupped up. Can't help much more with crossroads, but for RJ's END of the road (and many other blues/folk people) surf on over to this somewhat bizarre site that I must admit I kinda' find fascinating.catspaw


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Ronn
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 10:31 AM

Catspaw--The findagrave site is sensational--I found it a few monthes ago through a Flashman Chronology page that took me to a picture of Lola Montez' grave. You are correct about it being both bizarre and fascinating.

As for the crossroads, no one seems to want to seriously investigate my own theory that the crossroads is actually where Route 66 crosses Rt 666 in Gallup, New Mexico...


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Subject: RE: A Little of Topic
From:
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 10:51 AM

Further to the Robert Johnson legend, I heard a really neat song titled "Heaven's Where You'll Dwell" on the new Carlos del Junco CD, "Big Boy". It is a neat twist on the story, Robert showing up at the Crossroads to fulfill his obligation to the devil, the Lord showing up and claiming R.J. as his own. Carlos didn't write it, I believe that one of his band members did, but it's a cool song that gives Robert the ending that he is due.

Carlos is a Toronto harp player who has won the Hohner world championship in both the Blues and Jazz Categories. He is definately worth checking out.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From:
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 11:34 AM

Sorry, the posting above was mine, forgot to put my name to it.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Max
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 12:08 PM

A few summers ago, me and a couple of friends went to find it. We purposefully ignored all the tourist stuff, and did investigating and exploring on our own. In our findings which were also confirmed and elaborated by Pat LeBlanc (an local expert) we found 3 likely sites for his grave. My favorite one was in Itta Bena MS. My advice is to contact Pat Leblanc, he knows more about it than anyone I ever met, and when you ask questions like this to The Mississippi State Tourist Bureau they give you Pat's number which is 601-254-9333. If you are taking a trip to MS and really do care about this, call him, you'll not regret it and he will welcome your call. I had a ball snooping around MS, its like a different world down there.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Max
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 12:11 PM

The one shown on findagrave.com is the one in Itta Bena, though they call it Morgan City. We have a picture of that too as well as the church on our RJ page. Anyhow, there is another one at Payne Chapel also shown on our RJ page here.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Max
Date: 02 Feb 99 - 04:43 PM

A lot of folks send me email that really belongs in the threads. This is one that came in this evening from R. spearko.

Why is it that when a white person master's the genre of western academic music by, say, the age of ten, he's hailed as a prodigy or supergenius, but when a poor black man from the mississippi delta creates something geniunely beautiful it's because he sold his soul to the devil? I don't think anyone ever accused Wagner for his brilliance or Harry Partch for his originality, let's not condemn Robert Johnson for simple lack of better explanation- maybe he had a 240 I.Q. -who knows? This idiotic legend detracts from the genius Jonson possessed, musically, lyrically, and intellectually, when it becomes the dominant theme in any discussion about him, and don't kid yourself- it usually does. Do you recall the last time someone decided that poor uneducated whites from the mountains could not have possibly spawned a music as complex, emotional, and original as bluegrass, and then deduced that only a felicitous relationship with Satan could have produced it? Please, let's let human endeavor speak or sing for itself- maybe fear of god and the devil or love of them, can influence someone's creation, but i can't remember the last time i saw god and the devil jamming out at the local taproom. There really is enough to occupy ourselves with in the real world, if as much energies and time were spent listening to Robert Johnson's music as is speculating where the "crossroads" is, or how to learn to play the guitar overnight, we might actually have some decent transcriptions of Robert Johnson's work. Please don't take this as a personal attack or criticism- i'm only trying to ask a question and i guess it's just this 21st century angst that makes me a bit edgy. I'm just tired of hearing "Robert Johnson? Wasn't he that guy that sold his soul to the devil?" I think we are responsible for righting the wrongs of the age of misinformation- so someday maybe people will think of some other connection to preface their RJ discussions with. Anyway i can't really see what my question was, to reiterate, i only hope to the devil i had one- anyway thanks for listening.

R. spearko


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 03:05 AM

Fine sentiments and I see what you're getting at, but It was Robert Johnson himself that pushed the story about selling his soul to the devil. Hype, self-promotion, and image weren't just ushered in with the rock n roll era. If Johnson is a victim of the story, then he really has no one to blame but himself.

Brian


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Subject: To Brian
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 08:55 AM

I had never heard this, I always heard that Son House and Willie Brown told this story as they were amazed by the expertise that Robert seemed to develop suddenly.

Where did you get your information?

Steve Latimer


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: rick fielding
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 10:50 AM

One of my students - a forty three year old - grade three teacher, took up 3 finger banjo about five months ago. She has natural talent, a love of the music, and organised work habits. I showed her the proper "rolls", gave her two or three recordings a week to listen to...and in about three months she was a darn good banjo player..because she PRACTICED! Some of the less gifted or less dilligent folks at the "Saturday Jam Session" might very well think she "sold her soul to the devil"! Don't we know a couple of facts about Robert Johnson and Son House? Son (who was amazed at RJs progress,) always seemed to enjoy his libations,and apparently didn't learn a new lick in 40 years... and Robert (witness his copying some of Lonnie Johnson's style) sure listened to records. I don't think he needed to sell his soul to anyone, when hard work would bring the same results. Now if he'd shown up in the old stomping grounds with a Porsche........


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Ronn
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 11:38 PM

If anyone is interested in a very unusual take on the Robert Johnson legend, I strongly suggest checking out a book called RESERVATION BLUES by Sherman Alexie.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 03:29 AM

Johnson learned or borrowed from a number of other blues artists - Lonnie Johnson, Kokomo Arnold, Skip James, Son House, etc. - but it wasn't just blues styles that he learned. He had declared from a relatively early age that it was his intention to become famous and, apart from putting a lot of hard work into his playing, he saw that another useful strategy to this end was to create an image for himself. In promoting the idea that he had made a contract with the devil, he was following earlier artists who had promoted thmselves in this way - Peetie Wheatstraw ('The Devil's Son-In-Law'), Tommy Johnson, (who claimed that he had sold his soul to the devil) and, Robert's tutor, Ike Zinneman (who apparently claimed to have learned to play on top of a tombstone). In addition to this the idea that Johnson sold his soul to the devil is more than just a little fueled by the imagery he included in his lyrics.

Brian


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 01:58 PM

I don't know anything about Robert Johnson, but I think the first musician to promote himself as being in league with the Devil may have been Niccolo Paganini, the early-1800s violin virtuoso. Or at least he didn't deny the rumors. Two hundred or so years earlier a composer named Tartini said he got a violin sonata from the Devil in a dream--it's still called the "Devil's Trill" sonata.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: GUEST,TMD
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 11:49 PM

I always heard the Crossroads was just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi. By the way if you're into Johnson's story, read "Take A Walk On The Dark Side, Rock And Roll Myths, Legends, And Curses." Sends chills up my spine every time I read it.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: open mike
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 02:39 AM

This is interesting information..I have named my Radio Show the Crossroads show, and try to play a version of Crossroads, (or At The Crossroads) on most of my shows. Either by Robert Johnson, or
Ralph Stanley, or Robin and Linda Williams or
Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen....or??
any other versions that you know of?


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 07:18 AM

I tried findagrave to see if it knew about Jenny Nettles (she's buried unmarked at a crossroads on the Lomond Hills just outside Strathmiglo, in Scotland). It didn't.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 08:31 AM

I saw a TV documentary about RJ where [insert name of blues player I cannot now recollect] said RJ never told the story about meeting the devil at the crossroads - [unremembered name] did. I obviously cannot vouch for the truth or otherwise of either origin of the legend.

In the end, does it matter? It seems to me it only matters if one believes the story to be true or if one wants to go on an RJ pilgrimage to see the site.

But what would you see when you got there? Surely not any 'truth' or otherwise: no devil, no music, no further understanding, but just a crossroad.

So you have a bit of the 'true cross' ... a piece of Noah's ark ... a plectrum Jimi Hendrix used ... a towel Jim Morrison once wiped his face on. What have you got? A bit of wood, a plectrum, a towel. Not insight or understanding.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 08:34 AM

I've got 2 bits of the Berlin Wall!


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:07 AM

So have I, and a bit of the Great Pyramid, but I still can't play like Robert Johnson....


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Peace
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:34 AM

"but I still can't play like Robert Johnson.... "

neither can Robert Johnson anymore.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Les from Hull
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:34 AM

Open Mike - there's the version(s) recorded by Cream, including a live version about 5 minutes long, one of my favourite 'modern' interpretations.


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 12:47 PM

Going back to the original 9-year old question -- where is the Crossroads? -- officially its at the intersection of Hwys 61 and 49 on the southeast side of Clarksdale in Coahoma County, MS. Of course others claim Johnson's crossroads involved at least one railroad instead of a road for cars...so who knows At least by marking one place, it gives the slightly interested tourists someplace to visit and get pictures of so they can say they've been there.

SC


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Subject: RE: location of Robert Johnson's crossroads
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:35 PM

Max's points say it all, but have a look in "Chasin' that Devil Music" by Gayle Dean Wardlow, Backbeat Books 1998.

He gives a clear conclusion that the story has no basis in fact, how could it? Johnson doesn't make mention of it in his recorded music and although some of his contemporaries made reference to the idea they later denighed it really meant anything.

Johnson was an exceptionally talented man and we are exceptionally lucky to be able to hear him and his music


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