Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow’s epic biography of blues icon Robert Johnson for Louder Than War. This incredibly detailed and superbly researched tome, which scooped the prestigious Penderyn Music Book Prize, is a must read for anyone who has even a passing interest in music history.
I was desperately keen to review this book, what with the whole devil myth and all. If you’re not sure why that should interest me (I’m not a crazed satanist or anything) then check out my novel, Midnight at the Old Aces.
In the event that you can’t quite find the time to read Conforth & Wardlow’s superb work, Johnson did not sell his soul to the devil. It’s a fascinating story, but that’s all it is – a story.
His life was actually quite sad. Like all of his peers living on the Delta plantations, life was unimaginably tough. He tragically died at the young age of twenty-seven, just as his music was being recognised.
And, as we all know, that music went on to shape much of what we listen to today.