Running with the devil

tommy johnsonA deal with the devil, a meeting at the crossroads and a man named Johnson appearing on the scene with Blues Power. Does the story sound familiar? It should, it’s the legend of Robert Johnson.

But before there was Robert Johnson, there was Tommy Johnson, a near contemporary of Charley Patton and a falsetto-wailing blues singer who reportedly put on a wild show and lived a wildier life.

I have an MP3 of Johnson singing “Maggie Campbell Blues,” which I downloaded from Napster a while back. I picked the song mainly because Dave Alvin did such a masterful job of covering it on “Public Domain.” Johnson’s version is nothing short of haunting. Give it a listen. And if you would like a whole CD of Johnson’s music, you can order it here.

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