The Complete Recordings (The Centennial Collection)
The Complete Recordings (The Centennial Collection)
by Robert Johnson
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May 8, 2011, marks the 100th birthday of Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, who, according to legend, sold his soul down at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49 in a midnight bargain that has haunted the music world for three-quarters of a century. The deal brought forth Johnson s incandescent guitar technique and a run of 10-inch 78 rpm singles for the Vocalion, Oriole, Conqueror and Perfect labels recorded in San Antonio in 1936 and Dallas in 1937. Those songs have become a cornerstone of Columbia Records identity, and will be celebrated on two CENTENNIAL releases from Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
THE CENTENNIAL COLLECTION double-disc set shares the same genealogy as 1990 s Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings, but that package has now been updated for a new generation. The set includes a new essay by Ted Gioia alongside a new biography of Robert Johnson written by Stephen C. LaVere (completely different from his essay in the 1990 version). Also included are new illustrations, photo images, and a family tree of music originating from Robert Johnson.
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|Audio CD Release Date:||April 26, 2011|
|Number Of Discs:||2|
|Average Customer Rating:|| based on 38 reviews|
|1. ||Kindhearted Woman Blues|
|2. ||Kindhearted Woman Blues (alternate take)|
|3. ||I Believe I ll Dust My Broom|
|4. ||Sweet Home Chicago|
|5. ||Ramblin On My Mind|
|6. ||Ramblin On My Mind (alternate take)|
|7. ||When You Got A Good Friend|
|8. ||When You Got A Good Friend (alternate take)|
|9. ||Come On In My Kitchen|
|10. ||Come On In My Kitchen (alternate take)|
|11. ||Terraplane Blues|
|12. ||Phonograph Blues|
|13. ||Phonograph Blues (alternate take)|
|14. ||32-20 Blues|
|15. ||They re Red Hot|
|16. ||Dead Shrimp Blues|
|17. ||Cross Road Blues|
|18. ||Cross Road Blues (alternate take)|
|19. ||Walking Blues|
|20. ||Last Fair Deal Gone Down|
|21. ||Preaching Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)|
|22. ||If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day|
|1. ||Stones In My Passway|
|2. ||I m A Steady Rollin Man|
|3. ||From Four Till Late|
|4. ||Hellhound On My Trail|
|5. ||Little Queen Of Spades|
|6. ||Little Queen Of Spades (alternate take)|
|7. ||Malted Milk|
|8. ||Drunken Hearted Man|
|9. ||Drunken Hearted Man (alternate take)|
|10. ||Me And The Devil Blues|
|11. ||Me And The Devil Blues (alternate take)|
|12. ||Stop Breakin Down Blues|
|13. ||Stop Breakin Down Blues (alternate take)|
|14. ||Traveling Riverside Blues|
|15. ||Traveling Riverside Blues (alternate take)|
|16. ||Honeymoon Blues|
|17. ||Love in Vain|
|18. ||Love in Vain (alternate take)|
|19. ||Milkcow s Calf Blues|
|20. ||Milkcow s Calf Blues (alternate take)|
Record Label: Sony
Catalog#: 88697 859072
Country Of Release: NLD
Year Of Release: 2011
|Average Customer Review: ( 38 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 117 found the following review helpful:
Critical recordings reissued with revalatory sound. Apr 27, 2011
By Michael Stack
Robert Johnson, blues pioneer and legend, would turn 100 next month if he were still alive. In celebration of his centennial, his all-too-brief catalog-- 29 master takes and 13 alternates-- has been reissued.
As I'm sure a lot of you reading this already have these recordings in some form or another, I'm going to start by talking about the presentation of this material. Put simply-- this set is a revelation of sound-- it's remarkable, both the 1990 collection (Complete Recordings) and the later reissues of King of Delta Blues Singers all have that "pre-World War II reissue sound". Many of you know what I mean, scratches, pops, microphone hiss, etc. It lends a certain charm to the music, but it can certainly change the listening experience. This recording is remarkably free of that-- crip, clean, clear, no artifacts of age or old media. It's really amazing, I've never heard anything from this era that sounds like this, it has my salivating at the potential for remastering other pre-WWII music and it really brings Johnson to life-- with such clarity, both his singing and guitar playing leap off the recordings.
And really, that brings me back to the recordings, a true treasure of their era, Robert Johnson was a powerfully talented man. Generally recognized for his guitar playing (rumor has it he sold his soul to the Devil to attain such mastery), Johnson was also a singer of fierce power, channeling deep and powerful emotions and demonstrating excellent flexibility in his voice. Accompanying himself on guitar, Johnson demonstrates remarkable technique, instantly recognizable as his own and never really replicated by anyone else. I think it was best summed up by Keith Richards, who famously asked when hearing Johsnon, "who is the other guy playing with him?"
The songs themselves have been covered and re-covered so many times, in many ways they're instantly familiar to us. To hear Johnson perform though is often a revelation-- he can bring forth such emotions seemingly at will, haunted fear ("Hellhound on My Trail"), anxiety ("Ramblin' On My Mind") and ecstacy ("They're Red Hot"). But for me, when he's at his best is when there's almost an acceptance of a dark resolution-- "Me and the Devil Blues" and "Cross Road Blues" come immediately to mind. It's something I've never quite heard in anyone else's music, and certainly the many, many covers of the latter are simply lacking in comparison.
The bottom line is, these recordings are essential parts of music history, it's hard to overstate this, and should be investigated by virtually any serious music fan. For those who have previous issues of these recordings, the sonic upgrade here is to my ears worth the investment. Highly recommended.
55 of 59 found the following review helpful:
Amazing ! Apr 26, 2011
I already had the 1990 release "The Complete Recordings" so you would probably say , why buy this one , right ? Well I firgured it would be re-remastered using todays technology and I saw it had unreleased 2 snippets on disc 2 . I was gonna purchase it thru Amazon like I do most of the time but I wanted to see the packaging first to see if it was remastered . Well I purchased it today at a local independent record store (there are so few left these days)and I gotta say ,the sound is much improved over the 1990 boxset . The booklet is very nice and informative and the 2 new snippets (even though they are only seconds in length)are historical seconds in the story of the Blues . Maybe you have to be a Delta Blues fanatic like me to appreciate these few seconds . All in all this is a great 2cd set with great sound . The only thing missing from this as compared to the 1990 boxset is the lyrics . BUY IT ! ! !
46 of 51 found the following review helpful:
Holy Crap!!!!!!! Apr 30, 2011
By Gerard Masters
Ok, I've bought all the reissues and the records so I know a little of the history of the SOUND of Robert J.
This reissue got all the hooks right. The remastering, compared even to the 90 re-re cd issue literally BLOWS
it away for listenability. This, finally is the holy grail of RJ. It is finally, a collection you can listen to without being
totally stoned and enjoy!! Kudo's to the Columbia label for FINALLY gettin it right!!
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Washing the windows May 20, 2011
By Dan Draheim
No need to review the incredible music of Robert Johnson. Along with Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Bob Dylan he was among the most influential American artists of the 20th century--despite the fact that his entire catalog fits on two CDs.
My review focuses instead on this reissue compared to the 1990 Complete Recordings, as good as they were for their time. That version is like standing on the porch, peering through a dirty, grease-smudged window into the room where 75 years ago Robert Johnson sat in a creaky wooden chair, wailing his heart out while playing his amazing guitar with what sounds like four hands. This new set transports you into the room, sitting right next to Johnson--not just hearing the music but feeling it. There is still the crackle, hiss, and pop of these old recordings. Some future advance in processing technology might someday remove this noise while leaving all the other audio unscathed, and it's debatable whether this would be good or bad. But on these discs Robert Johnson's music comes through brighter, cleaner, fuller, and more alive than I have ever heard it.
I can't speak to whether this set simply restores something that the 1990 versions inadvertently muffled compared to even earlier versions. But I can't imagine a better set out there, and for any serious student of American music or just music period, these recordings in some form are absolutely essential. And I can't imagine being without them.
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
A MUST have May 15, 2011
By D. R. Byers
I first bought vol. 2 of "King of the Delta Blues Singers" in 1985 then vol. 1 a few weeks after. In 1990 I bought the "Complete Recordings" box set. Now in 2011 we have the "The Centennial Collection". I will not review the music of Robert Johnson other than to say it is Blues at its very best.
For those who own the 1990 "Complete Recordings" I say replace it with this set! The sound of this set is so startling it was, for me, like hearing the music for the first time. There was a subtlety and softness to Johnson's vioce I had never heard before. One could hear him trailing his singing off at the end of a verse. His guitar playing too is beautifully clear on this set, So dynamic and powerful.
Again, get it!
See all 38 customer reviews on Amazon.com
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