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The Complete Blind Willie Johnson
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Blind Willie Johnson (slide guitar, vocals).
  • Reissue producers: Lawrence Cohn, Gary Pacheco.
  • Recorded between 1927 and 1930. Includes liner notes by Samuel Charters.
  • Digitally remastered by David Mitson (Sony Music Studios, Los Angeles, California).
  • This is part of Columbia/Legacy's Roots N' Blues series.
  • A bottleneck guitarist of consummate skill, Blind Willie Johnson was a traveling evangelist who preached the gospel by playing and singing such message-heavy tunes as "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole," and "If It Had Not Been for Jesus." But there is not a whit of squeaky-clean, Sunday-morning sweetness to Johnson's music. Overwhelmingly intense, Johnson's performances are all open wounds and raw nerves. THE COMPLETE collects everything the artist ever recorded, and makes a case for Johnson as one of the most passionate, affecting bluesmen of all time.
  • It is Johnson's singing that truly startles. A gruff yet finely nuanced bass, Johnson sings with a voice that could grind glass, wrenching out spiritually committed messages in a manner both primal and sublime. Johnson also displays great variety, be it the stark, understated intensity of "Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground" (where he wordlessly vocalizes in a hush over ghostly riffs) or the full-tilt prophetic perfection of "John the Revelator" (a duet with Willie Harris). THE COMPLETE BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON is an utterly essential set of the most hair-raising gospel blues ever put to tape. Be prepared.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (9/2/93, p.64) - "...adds no new discoveries to his discography, but it boasts clearer sound than the Yazoo reissues..."

Q (9/93, p.96) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...[THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS] are as crude as you'd expect...nonetheless, the intensity and strangeness of `Dark Was The Night' suggests [Blind Willie Johnson] belongs among the heavy hitters..."
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