Blues Legend Robert Johnson of Mississippi

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by RoscoeB, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. RoscoeB

    RoscoeB Senior Member

  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Read your blog post and watched the video, Roscoe. I'm a fan - both of your reporting style - and always, the man himself, Robert Johnson. Thanks for posting this. You truly made my day!
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  3. RoscoeB

    RoscoeB Senior Member

    Johann, you're very kind. Thank you.

  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Roscoe's fine article made me once again mindful of the fact that now, all the people who knew Robert Johnson have passed on. Not surprising, I guess, since Robert died at 27, in 1938. Some of his contemporaries led quite long lives - not always the norm for bluesmen. Robert 'Junior' Lockwood died at 91, Eddie 'Son' House at 86. and more recently, David 'Honeyboy' Edwards at 96 (d. 2011).

    All these people - and many more - are vital to blues history. And Blues history, I believe is important in American history. Blues are important musically, historically and sociologically. (I think blues may also be a psychological necessity. I know I feel better if I play some or listen for a while - or even read about them. :) )

    Yes - there is a point to all this. I've wondered for years why there seems to be no place of higher education that offers a degree in blues. Yes, you could likely earn a graduate musicology degree with a thesis focused on some aspect of blues - or perhaps a grad degree in social sciences that involves Black life in the South or a detailed study of the Northern Migration, peppered with blues quotes to exemplify points. But you're not going to see a bachelor's anywhere I know of - majoring in all aspects of Blues.

    Some institutions have a few blues-related courses, possibly in some cases enough to make a minor, but none I know of offers complete degree programs as such. Berklee, the fine music school, offers a Professional Certificate in blues guitar, credits transferable to a degree. But the degree will not be in Blues. It will likely be a Guitar-related degree.

    It's been possible for years to get a Bachelor's degree (or higher) in Jazz or Country Music - and I mean a degree covering all bases - not solely performance. But no blues degrees. I'd love for someone to:

    (a) prove me wrong, or
    (b) offer an explanation

    Anyone feel like tackling it?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
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  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    "I got a major in rhythm and a minor in soul - and a PhD in the blues... I'm a road scholar..." (Delbert McClinton sang it - Lee Roy Parnell wrote it.)

    Oh yeah. How I wish... :)
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

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  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Gee, Rich, I'm disappointed. I was hoping that maybe there were 29 degree programs I'd overlooked. But I guess it's just a semi-cryptic reference to the number of songs Robert Johnson recorded. I have all 29 on a reissue-set. When he was in his teens, I gave my son a 41-song set as a present. That's the total with alternate takes and a very few sides that were not issued.

    Oh well, maybe info on all those degree programs is still in the pipeline... :)

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