The first blues song I heard growing up on Atlanta college radio was “Cross Road Blues,” 1936, by genre progenitor Robert Johnson.
Only two photos of Johnson exist, though we’re blessed with 42 recordings, generations of stories and one enduring myth: that at midnight he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads of highways 61 and 49 near Clarksdale, Mississippi – suddenly channeling the demon’s music.
“We do know Johnson returned to Hazelhurst for a year, learning to play guitar in a cemetery at night from Ike Zimmerman,” said Clarksdale historian Robert Birdsong. “We find going to the crossroads in Germanic and African folklore.”
– Chris Schroder, The 100 Companies