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Best sounding CD of Robert Johnson recordings ?
October 8, 2009 4:59 PM   Subscribe

What's the best sounding CD that contains music by the delta blues singer/guitarist Robert Johnson?

Currently I have a CD of his recordings titled "King of the Delta Blues Singers". It sounds like shit. I'm not talking the fuzz and pop of an old recording, but on the some of the higher notes, say in Terraplane Blues, the sound gets distorted and it sounds like the speaker is about to blow. This has happen on different audio equipment, be it at home, work or in the car. Also the actual volume of the recording sounds quite low.

Now, I'm sure I've heard better versions of these recordings, but of course don't have anything to back that up other than "I could have sworn this sounded better on another CD!"

Is there a comprehensive list of the CDs have been put out with Johnson's music and (This the key part) is there one that sounds particularly good despite the obvious archival qualities of the recordings?
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Columbia Masterworks 2-disc set with liner notes by Eric Clapton is probably the best-cleaned-up mainstream release of Johnson.

However, I think that no Johnson collection is complete without Steady Rollin' Man, which is cleaned up and slowed down to reflect the variations in recording speeds of that era.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:11 PM on October 8, 2009


Do you absolutely need it to be in CD format? I have a FLAC rip from vinyl done by one of my more technologically-gifted and audio-snobbish friends (a studio engineer by trade, actually). If you can find a way to get 300Mb or so from my house to yours, (electronically or postally) they're yours for the asking. (am I correct in assuming that this is not in any type of legal grey area? He bought the songs once, already, yes? If this is hinky, feel free to pull it). (Either way... offer stands.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:34 PM on October 8, 2009


Given that Johnson died more than 70 years ago is his work in the public domain now?
posted by 6550 at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2009


Whatever lawyer you find to argue that, I'm betting there's a music company with bigger lawyers that say different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 PM on October 10, 2009


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