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Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson (January 25, 1897 – September 18, 1945) was an American gospel blues singer, guitarist and evangelist. His landmark recordings completed between 1927 and 1930—thirty songs in total—display a combination of powerful "chest voice" singing, slide guitar skills, and originality that has influenced later generations of musicians. Even though Johnson's records sold well, as a street performer and preacher he had little wealth in his lifetime. His life was poorly documented, but over time music historians such as Samuel Charters have uncovered more about Johnson and his five recording sessions.

A revival of interest in Johnson's music began in the 1960s, following his inclusion on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, and by the efforts of the blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis. Johnson's work has become more accessible through compilation albums such as American Epic: The Best of Blind Willie Johnson and the Charters compilations. As a result, Johnson is credited as one of the most influential practitioners of the blues, and his slide guitar playing, particularly on his hymn "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground", is highly acclaimed. Other recordings by Johnson include "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed", "It's Nobody's Fault but Mine", and "John the Revelator".

Birth and Death Data: Born January 22nd, 1897 (Brenham;Pendleton, Texas), Died September 18th, 1945 (Beaumont)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927 - 1930

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, guitar

Recordings (Results 26-32 of 32 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W150310 10-in. 4/20/1930 The rain don't fall on me Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150311 10-in. 4/20/1930 Trouble will soon be over Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150312 10-in. 4/20/1930 The soul of a man Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150313 10-in. 4/20/1930 Everybody ought to treat a stranger right Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150314 10-in. 4/20/1930 Church, I'm fully saved to-day Blind Willie Johnson Female-male vocal duet, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150315 10-in. 4/20/1930 John the Revelator Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W150316 10-in. 4/20/1930 You're gonna need somebody on your bond Blind Willie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
(Results 26-32 of 32 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Johnson, Blind Willie," accessed May 13, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110122.

Johnson, Blind Willie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110122.

"Johnson, Blind Willie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 13 May 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110122

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