The Complete Collection review by Robert Johnson

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1998
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (19 votes)
Robert Johnson: The Complete Collection

Sound — 10
Just one man playing the Blues. These are old recordings so the clarity of the sound is not great. This however just adds to the atmosphere of the tracks. Many well known guitar players consider Robert Johnson a major influence. The lengend of Robert Johnson is that he sold his soul to the Devil and there is much mystery regarding his early death. Johnson only recorded 29 songs during his short life and this album contains them all. Personally I don't buy into lengends. Johnson was simply a fantastic player and singer and his sound is what you would expect from 1930's blues, only better.

Lyrics — 8
Sadly blues players spend a lot of the time waking up in the morning. Many of the phrases used in the songs have become cliched and greatly overused. They wake up the morning only to find that their woman has left them and they become very depressed. Johnson however is emotional and the way he tells his tales is very clever. He uses different vocal sounds to keep your attention and wails, whispers, moans and cries. The playing is good but the way Johnson carries his songs is phenominal.

Overall Impression — 10
With this album I hate the fact that it is too long to listen to at once but I also love the fact that it is too long. The second half of the CD is still to be properly discovered. I also love the fact that Johnsons playing is difficult as this gives me something to aspire to. All the songs are pretty good, Terraplane Blues being a particular favorite. The most well known song is Sweet Home Chicago. As a Blues fan I would have to say that this is my favorite Blues album. It is very difficult to be critical when he has inspired so many blues and rock players of today. Keith Ricards and Eric Clapton being obvious examples. The only real hate is the poor recording quality due to the technology at the time. This album however cannot be praised enough. This is Bules at its most raw, passionate, emotional, soulful and gritty best.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah great stuff, the only thing that particular copy is missing is the duplicates. Some of the songs were recorded more then once in different sessions. It probally won't matter to you unless you turn into an uber fan that needs everything.
    i bought this for 8 bucks, best bargain i've ever bought. 2nd was a Son House CD for 10 bucks. He's amazing as well, do yourself a favor and check him out.
    Battery Chicken
    Damn shame that he didn't live longer, the poor quality of the recordings do make this an album that needs to be listened to in quiet solitude, rather than merely background music.
    indeed. amazing album. i'd also advice seeing the movie 'crossroads' for anyone interested in ancient roots and growth of blues.