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blues

4 articles
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The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie

On the trail of the phantom women who changed American music and vanished without a trace.

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Delta Dawn

“There was no Delta blues before there were cheap, readily available steel-string guitars. And those guitars, which transformed American culture, were brought to the boondocks by Sears, Roebuck & Co.”

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Did Robert Johnson Sell His Soul to the Devil?

Another look at a popular myth.

For the longest time blues fans didn’t even know what their hero looked like—in 1971, a music magazine even hired a forensic artist to make a composite sketch based on various first-hand accounts—until two photos of Robert Johnson finally came to light.  The dapper young man pictured in the most famous photo, dressed in a stylish suit and smiling affably at the camera, hardly looks like a man who has sold his soul to Lucifer.

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The Soul of a Man

On the mysterious life story of blues icon Blind Willie Johnson and a half-century of attempts to fill in the blanks.