armstrong26491
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2007
409 IQ
#1
As delta blues most famous singer and guitarist, I wouldn't deny his talent or ability. And as is so common in the blues world, borrowing and covering other artists work is quite common. But when listening to other early blues singers I come across Lonnie Johnson, and I was immediately struck by his similarity to RJ. I was even more surprised when i come across specific songs that are almost identical to Johnson's (guitar and vocal lines):

Drunken hearted man - RJ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=2Q4UKxXLEDY

As opposed to Life saver blues - LJ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkj69qGpkwU

Malted milk - RJ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=proZJ8xYGns

opposed to Mean old bedbug blues - LJ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiKeyxhv5Mk

Maybe it's just me, and they're not as similar as I think (Lonnie uses alot more jazzy lead lines). And I'm not trying to say that RJ is a talentless rip-off. All I want to know is does anyone know of other RJ songs which are heavily derived from other songs, and if so which ones?

Discuss.
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gwitersnamps
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Join date: Apr 2006
528 IQ
#2
It looks like Lonnie started playing before Johnson did. I'm guessing it's just a coincidence.
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ze monsta
I wonder why I stay
Join date: May 2007
419 IQ
#3
Robert Johnson "borrowed" a whole lot. He wasn't a particularly original musician. Kokomo Arnold and Skip James are "borrowed" a lot. I read that Robert Johnson aspired to be like Lonnie Johnson a lot, and really liked him.

If you're interested, pick up a copy of "Escaping The Delta" by Elijah Wald. That will tell you a whole lot more.
ze monsta
I wonder why I stay
Join date: May 2007
419 IQ
#5
Yeah, and Son House. "Preaching Blues (up jumped the devil)" is taken from Preachin' Blues by Son House, and the riff is the same just sped up. I forget the finer details of it, but yeah, lots learnt from him also. "Walking Blues" as well.

MONSTA EDIT:

32-20 Blues = 22-20 Blues by Skip James
Hellhound on my Trail = Devil Got My Woman Blues by Skip James
Sweet Home Chicago = Old Original Kokomo Blues by James Arnold, who came to be known as Kokomo Arnold.
Walking Blues = Walking Blues by Son House
Preaching Blues = Preaching Blues by Son House

They're the ones I know of off the top of my head right now. If I trolled back through "Escaping The Delta" I could probably find a few more.
Last edited by ze monsta at Jul 7, 2009,
armstrong26491
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2007
409 IQ
#8
This is all very interesting, listening back I can hear it quite clearly. And 'Escaping the delta' looks very interesting too, i'm gonna have to try pick up a copy.
"It's funny how most people love the dead. Once you're dead, you're made for life" - Jimi Hendrix

Quote by TheClincher
Is it incest if I had sex with my brother in law's half sister? Because if it is, it was so ****ing worth it.
ze monsta
I wonder why I stay
Join date: May 2007
419 IQ
#9
It's a brilliant book, a very detailed biography, and helps clear alot of the stigma around Johnson. It's fairly controversial I guess, but really is excellent.
Last edited by ze monsta at Jul 7, 2009,
cornmancer
Thou mayest
Join date: Jun 2008
814 IQ
#10
A lot were stolen, some he borrowed and some were original. I think Crossroads was completely original could be wrong. I'm thinking I should check out that "Escaping the Delta"