Category Archive 'The Devil'

25 Aug 2011

Down to the Crossroad

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Ted Gioia, in Alibi Magazine, takes seriously the Faustian bargain at the center of the American Blues tradition.

Years later, Tommy Johnson’s brother Ledell told an interviewer how his sibling explained his skill at the guitar. “If you want to learn how to play anything you want to play and learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where a road crosses that way, where a crossroad is,” Tommy Johnson had told his brother. “Be sure to get there just a little ’fore twelve o’clock that night so you’ll know you’ll be there….A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar, and he’ll tune it. And then he’ll play a piece and hand it back to you. That’s the way I learned to play anything I want.”

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.


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