The Robert Johnson Notebooks  
Robert Johnson The Robert Johnson Notebooks
On November23, 1936, Robert Johnson recorded his songs for the first time in San Antonio,Texas. This first of two sessions was unceremoniously squeezed betweenW. Lee O'Daniel & His Hillbilly Boys the day before, and Hermanas Barazacon guitarras the day after. Yet out of this modest recording session,after which Robert Johnson collected his money and disappeared again intothe Mississippi Delta, came a powerful and unique sound which forever changedmusic in America.  

The vitality of Robert Johnson's musichas been reaffirmed by the many remakes of his songs, from such diverseartists as Lee Roy Parnell to Eric Clapton to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.Moreover, his music influenced artists such as Muddy Waters, who in turnadvanced the birth of rock'n'roll. But it is not just Johnson's incredibleguitar playing or fantastically expressive singing which deserves homage.His lyrics, which are commonly considered as only context to his music,are actually rich, tightly wrought poems worthy of intense literary examination. 

This is the objective of Victor Cabas'ENTC 385 class, Mississippi in Story and Songs, at the Universityof Virginia. Mr. Cabas created theclass "as an excuse to teach Robert Johnson," and the class' papers, whichcome out of a period of listening to and recording observations in a literarynotebook on Johnson's songs, are often the best that he gets for the entiresession. The students analyze Johnson's songs for devices such as alliteration,assonance, metaphor, simile, and even scan a stanza to get a feeling foreach song's unique meter.   

This web site is designed to be not justa resource for material on Robert Johnson, for there are several of thoseon the WWW already. Instead, this site highlights the power of Robert Johnson'swords which are still resonant in contemporary America.  

    Words and Music by RobertJohnson 
    (C) (1978) 1990, 1991 Kingof Spades Music 
    All Rights Reserved. UsedBy Permission. 

    Robert Johnson  
    Photo booth self-portrait,early 1930s  
    (C) 1986 Delta Haze Corporation  
    All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.


Site by Courtney Danforth and AdrianaRissetto
updated 10/13/98