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Tag: Tommy Johnson

Tuesday, March 6th

timeless

Tommy Johnson (1896-1956), “Cool Drink of Water Blues,” 1928

 

(Taking a break—back in a while.)

Wednesday, April 12th

timeless

Old recordings, where everyone involved is long dead, don’t just appeal to the ears—they’re springboards for the imagination. Here’s one made in Memphis nearly 90 years ago.

Close your eyes.

Open your imagination.

They’re just about ready to record.

What’s the room look like?

What’s the last thing said before they start?

Tommy Johnson (1896-1956), “Cool Drink of Water Blues” (1928)


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lagniappe

art beat

Robert Frank (1924-), Funeral—St. Helena, South Carolina, 1955/56

Wednesday, 12/16/09

Old records, where everyone involved is long dead, don’t just appeal to the senses—they’re springboards for the imagination. Here’s a record that was made, in Memphis, over 80 years ago. It features one of the greatest voices in blues.

Close your eyes.

Open your imagination.

They’re just about ready to record.

What’s the room look like?

What’s the last thing they say before they start?

Tommy Johnson (1896-1956), “Cool Drink of Water Blues” (1928, Memphis)

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lagniappe

On the deepest level, a recording . . . is an invitation to time travel, a chance to resurrect the voices of the dead, a way to indulge a deep instinctual yearning to slow the passage of time. With a recording, we can preserve that fleeting moment, and play it again and again, according to our will. In his penetrating book “The Recording Angel,’’ Evan Eisenberg calls record listening “a séance where we get to choose our ghosts.’’—Jeremy Eichler, 12/13/09

*****

For about twenty years Tommy Johnson was perhaps the most important and influential blues singer in the state of Mississippi. He was one of the few black musicians to whom that much abused epithet ‘legendary’ rightfully applies.—David Evans

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