Robert Johnson myth exploded: The truth about the Mississippi Delta Bluesman’s mysterious 18-month disappearance revealed and uncovered…
Swamp voodoo man Prof. Crow was gearing up for a big revelation about Robert Johnson, the influential Mississippi bluesman who according to legend sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for guitar expertise and fame.
But first, the Prof took another swig of Black Tooth Grin, a hardcore cocktail recipe he picked up from Dimebag, the one time Pantera guitarist. “Damn,” he said. “I’m outta Seagrams 7 and cola, just hav’ta use my last stocks o’ Crown Royal…fuck the cola, don’t need that.”
Fortunately, Seagrams 7 or not, the Prof laid it down about Robert Johnson. This is what he said:
“Yeah were was I? Oh yeah. Now ole Robert Johnson play his last gig at the Three Forks juke joint outside Greenwood. Now it weren’t called that because it gone and served food!. Some folk say that it was in the fork of a road. Well they just ain’t actually been there. The Three Forks is right outside of Greenwood. Two lanes come into Greenwood, one from Shellmound, the other from Itta Bena. That ain’t a fork in the road. That’s a crossroads. The Three Forks was at a crossroads. So Robert’s song was predictin’ his death at a crossroads – where it had all started.
Now don’t get me wrong. Robert sure did do the deal – sold his soul. But after he did so he gone and got the jitters at what he had done. The ole Devil is a tricky customer and will do his best to weigh the deal in his favour. Robert realised that he may now be the best guitarist in the world but he was still a poor down beat, beat up, black fella from old Mississippi. He weren’t gonna get as rich as some of the white folks up North, nor likely to be as rich as some some of those blacks that recorded folk in Chicago.
That’s when Robert Johnson started all that heavy drinking and that is when he tried to run away. Ya see he could already hear them hellhounds howlin’ at night, but he thought he could out run them….
…And he did outrun them.
So there has always been that mystery of where Robert went for eighteen months. As soon as he did the Devil’s deal he was an ace guitarist able to pull songs straight out of the air. So why’d he disappear for 18 months? Well i told ya he tried to run away. He had always been a ramblin’ man. Some folk says he rambled across to Georgia, some say he rambled all the way up to Chicago.
I know the truth an’ it was much further away than that!
Robert, ya see, made his ways across to New Orleans to talk to some big voodoo guys there. But they was all just fancy silk robes, fancy talk and of no use at all. All they wanted was more and more money from their clients.
When he was there, though, Robert heard that them hell hounds can’t cross water and that contracts aren’t valid overseas. So Robbie did what Robert called always do. He took out his git-box and played his way on a passage on a rickety ole trap steamer and took himself as far as he could go – London. It weren’t unusual to see a black fella in London and the docks were full of all sorts of nationalities.
Now that all explains all ‘em strange references to odd places in Robert Johnson’s songs, and also explains that one mystery all ‘em academics worry about….
….Don’t ya know?
Well Robert was always a natty dresser, bit of a dandy. He was a ladies man you see and he dressed to impress them. Anyway when he gone an died they were looking through his suit jacket pockets to find any letter to any kin so they could send word to bury him. What they saw amazed them. The label on his jacket pocket showed that it was handmade in London’s Saville Row – an’ that is the best place to get ya clothes made over there.
Why did Robert Johnson leave an come home to face ‘em hell hounds? Well ya need to give me another bottle… I’m outta Seagrams 7 and need some cola to make up a decent Black Tooth Grin…”