Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Blind Willie Johnson - Dark Was the Night

Blind Willie Johnson was a gospel-inspired blues singer and slide player from the 20’s whose work has been covered by everyone from Peter, Paul & Mary to Led Zeppelin along with many, many more! His slide work has been eulogized by no less than slide masters Ry Cooder and Eric Clapton as some of the best playing ever. His agonizing voice is certainly not pretty in any conceivable way, but is highly emotional and filled with the spirit of the tunes.

I am not overly familiar with his output, but this collection has some of his best known numbers, from “Dark is the Night” to “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”. This is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for slick, city-fied blues, but for those who dig rough & raw spirituals, done in a bluesy style with plenty of great slide playing, this is a fine recording.