Friday, October 21, 2005

Love the blues? It all began in joints like these | 10/16/2005 | Love the blues? It all began in joints like these

CLARKSDALE, Miss. - In a handful of songs recorded in the 1930s, and bundled in legends and rumors ever since, Robert Johnson became the American Faust -- meeting the devil at a rural crossroads and trading his soul so he could become ``King of the Delta Blues.''

Whether Clarksdale has the real crossroads -- there are other spots claimed in this part of Mississippi -- is beside the point. Blues heritage is kudzu-thick here.

The official crossroads, at U.S. 61 and U.S. 49, is now graced by an oversized blue electric guitar mounted on a 25-foot pole. By itself, it is a Mid-South photo-op. An iPod-tunity, too: Try Cream's classic version of Crossroads. Or Walking into Clarksdale by Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. The title of the Romantics' 2003 LP was even more site-specific: 6¼9.

MUSICAL CROSSROADS: Legend has it that the intersection of U.S. 61 and U.S. 49 is where bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to become King of the Delta Blues.

(Thank goodness for the roots of the Blues...sure makes for a haunting trip during the Halloween season you just might meet the devil there too.)

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