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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Search For Robert Johnson Part 1 (of 5)

The Search for Robert Johnson is a 1991 UK television documentary film about the legendary Delta blues musician Robert Johnson, hosted by John Hammond, and produced and directed by Chris Hunt. In it, Hammond travels through the American Deep South to pursue topics such as Johnson's birth date, place and parents, his early musical development, performances and travels, romances, his mythic "pact with the devil," his untimely murder in his late twenties, the discovery of possible offspring, and the uncertainty over where Johnson is buried. Throughout, Johnson's music is both foreground and background, from recordings of Johnson and as performed on camera by Hammond, David Honeyboy Edwards, and Johnny Shines.
Blues musician and "keeper of the flame" John Hammond described his journey into the American South as "the quest of a lifetime". His father, record producer and jazz impresario John H. Hammond, had planned and advertised for Robert Johnson to perform at Carnegie Hall, but Johnson died prior to the concert.

The film is loosely organized around field work by Johnson researcher Robert "Mack" McCormick. Throughout the film, Hammond travels to locations where Johnson lived, performed, recorded, and purportedly where he died, and interviews two of Johnson's girlfriends and blues musicians who knew him, as well as two noted blues researchers. Locations include the "Delta, the floodplain of northwestern Mississippi, on into Arkansas and Texas, and into southern Mississippi, where he was born and died."

The film has been noted for its presentation of new evidence, at the time, about Johnson's life.
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