a blues song recorded on November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas, by legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. The song was originally released on 78 rpm format as Vocalion 03416 and ARC 7-03-56. Johnson performed the song in the key of A, and recorded two takes, the first of which contains his only recorded guitar solo. Both takes were used for different pressings of both the Vocalion issue and the ARC issue. The first take (SA-2580-1) can be found on many compilation albums, including the first one, King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961). Take 2 (SA-2580-2) can be heard on the later compilation Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings (1990).
This was the first song that Johnson recorded, and it was carefully crafted in imitation of recent hit records. It was composed as if in answer to "Cruel Hearted Woman Blues" by Bumble Bee Slim (Amos Easton), which in turn was based on "Mean Mistreater Mama" by Leroy Carr accompanied by Scrapper Blackwell. Johnson uses the Carr melody and conveys something of Carr's style in his relaxed singing. His guitar accompaniment echoes Carr's piano phrases in the first verse, then copies Blackwell's guitar phrases in the second verse. He then adds a musical bridge in the style of another hit record, "Milk Cow Blues" by Kokomo Arnold. At the end of the bridge, he jumps into a higher register as Arnold does, but then maintains an extraordinary controlled falsetto, which may have been based on the singing of Joe Pullum. Thus Johnson showed in his very first recording that he had mastered the commercially successful urban blues style of the Thirties. However, his debut cannot be dismissed as derivative. He combined elements of the styles of others into a highly individual style of his own
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