Robert Johnson: Devilish Detail

Illustrator Christopher Darling Brings the Myth of the Legendary Blues Musician to Life

Today's premiere commemorates the 100th birthday of late bluesman Robert Johnson. The film, which features illustrations from Brooklyn artist Christopher Darling, centers on the urban myth of the singer-guitarist selling his soul to the devil, a tale fueled by his itinerant lifestyle, otherworldly talent and renowned prowess as a ladies' man. In celebration of the May 8 anniversary, Sony has released a new box set of Johnson's late 1930s recordings, The Complete Original Masters: Centennial Edition, which includes a double-disc CD, a DVD of the 1997 documentary The Life and Music of Robert Johnson: Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? and 12 vinyl reproductions of his original records. Johnson died tragically young at the age of 27, allegedly poisoned by a jealous lover. He was famous for his unusually long fingers, with which he nimbly performed complex compositions. "Bryan Jones first played these records for Keith Richards in the early 60s, and Richards said, 'But who's the other guy playing?' And the answer was, 'It's just one guy!'" says multi-Grammy-winning producer Steve Berkowitz, who helped to mastermind the project. Berkowitz compiled his top-ten list of blues talent from Johnson's era below.



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