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Robert Johnson
The Complete Recordings

English version

Entre 1936 et 1937, Robert Johnson, alors âgé de 26 ans, enregistre l'intégralité d'une oeuvre aujourd'hui légendaire. L'année suivante, il meurt empoisonné par un mari jaloux. Un mythe était né. Plus d'un demi-siècle plus tard, l'auteur de "Sweet Home Chicago" et "Love in Vain" continue de marquer la création musicale contemporaine. La plupart des morceaux contenus dans cette intégrale des enregistrements de Robert Johnson ont été souvent repris, parfois pillés, par les plus grands artistes, parmi lesquels Eric Clapton et les Rolling Stones. "The Complete Recordings" est une oeuvre à écouter absolument.

La plupart des titres contenus dans ce coffret de deux CD y sont en double. En effet, lorsque deux prises d'un même titre ont été enregistrées, elles figurent toutes les deux sur l'album. On regrettera simplement le manque d'inspiration de l'éditeur, qui a choisi de placer chaque prise alternative juste après la prise principale qui lui correspond. Un disque contenant les prises principales, et un autre contenant les prises alternatives, aurait été un choix plus judicieux.


1.    Kindhearted Woman Blues (Johnson) - 2:49
2.    Kindhearted Woman Blues (Johnson) - 2:31
3.    I Believe I'll Dust My Broom (Johnson) - 2:56
4.    Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) - 2:59
5.    Rambling on My Mind (Johnson) - 2:51
6.    Rambling on My Mind (Johnson) - 2:20
7.    When You Got a Good Friend (Johnson) - 2:37
8.    When You Got a Good Friend (Johnson) - 2:50
9.    Come On in My Kitchen (Johnson) - 2:47
10.    Come On in My Kitchen (Johnson) - 2:35
11.    Terraplane Blues (Johnson) - 3:00
12.    Phonograph Blues (Johnson) - 2:37
13.    Phonograph Blues (Johnson) - 2:32
14.    32-20 Blues (Johnson) - 2:51
15.    They're Red Hot (Johnson) - 2:56
16.    Deep Shrimp Blues (Johnson) - 2:30
17.    Cross Road Blues (Johnson) - 2:39
18.    Cross Road Blues (Johnson) - 2:29
19.    Walkin' Blues (Johnson) - 2:28
20.    Last Fair Deal Gone Down (Johnson) - 2:39


1.    Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped the Devil) (Johnson) - 2:50
2.    If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day (Johnson) - 2:34
3.    Stones In My Passway (Johnson) - 2:27
4.    I'm a Steady Rollin' Man (Johnson) - 2:35
5.    From Four Until Late (Johnson) - 2:23
6.    Hell Hound on My Trail (Johnson) - 2:35
7.    Little Queen of Spades (Johnson) - 2:11
8.    Little Queen of Spades (Johnson) - 2:15
9.    Malted Milk (Johnson) - 2:17
10.    Drunken Hearted Man (Johnson) - 2:24
11.    Drunken Hearted Man (Johnson) - 2:19
12.    Me and the Devil Blues (Johnson) - 2:37
13.    Me and the Devil Blues (Johnson) - 2:29
14.    Stop Breakin' Down Blues (Johnson) - 2:16
15.    Stop Breakin' Down Blues (Johnson) - 2:21
16.    Traveling Riverside Blues (Johnson) - 2:47
17.    Honeymoon Blues (Johnson) - 2:16
18.    Love in Vain Blues (Johnson) - 2:28
19.    Love in Vain Blues (Johnson) - 2:19
20.    Milkcow's Calf Blues (Johnson) - 2:14
21.    Milkcow's Calf Blues (Johnson) - 2:20

(Extraits audio au format Windows Media)


  It's great to hear all of Robert Johnson, but it's annoying to hear the same song twice in a row. They should've put all 12 out-takes at the end of the second disk to make it more listenable. I burned my copy so I was able to rearrange it that way and now I love listening to it. -- Elijah

  Nearly three decades after successfully released the collected (but not complete) works of Robert Johnson (King of the Delta Blues Vol.1 & Vol. 2), and fifty years after his mysterious death, Columbia Records opened their vaults and launched the (still nearly) Complete Recordings on Compact Disc.
Long awaited by Blues fans and collectors alike, the chronological collection of songs (including alternate takes) was roundly applauded. Only an alternate take of Traveling Riverside Blues was omitted (either by mistake or design). This was to be remedied by a subsequent release of the Complete Recordings some years later.
In addition to superiour sound quality over the vinyl and cassettes of the earlier releases, an expansive booklet included much valuable information on Johnson (for the novice or new Blues fan) as well as the typical superlatives from Rock guru's Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.
Many listeners have expressed concern that the recordings themselves were re-mastered in manner that made the performances slightly brittle in timbre, taking away from the passion of Robert's voice and guitar attack. The sonic quality and equalized levels, however, more than compensated for loss of any analog "warmth".
In attempting to produce a purely chrononlogical performance sequence, songs and alternate takes of the songs are positioned back to back. This may seem tedious for the new or casual Blues fan, but programing of high end CD players can be an easy fix should that bother the listener.
The elements of digital recording did extend the dynamic range of the performances, and I, for one, believe that you can hear "more" depth in Johnson's voice and (particularly) slide playing.
"Robert Johnson: "The Complete Recordings" is a MUST HAVE for any serious Blues fan, and most certainly for those seeking what I believe is THE artist most responsible for creating a dynamic change in Blues music that was to affect musicians for decades (and decades yet to come)....! -- Andy Allu

  Robert Johnson's recordings are some of the greatest blues ever recorded. They took the older, traditional Delta blues and gave them what was in his day a modern kick. The songs are intense and unforgettable. Only negative about the "Complete Recordings" is that in most cases the alternative take of the songs is so similar to the issue take that there is no particular reason the average listener would want to own both, much less listen to both in a row. -- Steve Hoffman

English version