Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

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Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby heartbeatnumber » Sun Dec 18, 2005 7:53 pm

Which version of Robert Johnson's Complete Recordings would you buy and why?
a) 29 track CD or
b) 41 track CD (includes alternate takes).

The reason I ask you is that I cannot decide which one to buy. Guess I'll have trouble falling asleep for the next couple of nights... :-)
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby stumblin » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:37 pm

This really is a no-brainer for me.
The 41 track collection because it includes the alternate takes.
Why wouldn't you want to hear them?
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby bluesmcgoo » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:21 pm

Ditto what Stumblin said.

The 41 track version with the alternate takes is the way to go. The alternate takes are fascinating. They give some interesting insight on just how improvisational he was.

Get the 41 tracks and don't look back.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby houndog » Mon Dec 19, 2005 8:17 am

Yip,
41 one takes because...the takes issued may not have been Poor Bob's choice...facinating as what this shows is whilst the blues was recorded by black people what was released was down to white people.

Also as Ry Cooder says " ...just imagine what wasn't recorded..."

adios,
Lovat
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby johnny66 » Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:21 pm

The 'King of the Delta Blues Singers' CDs (Volumes 1 and 2), as re-released in 1998 and 2004, respectively, effectively renders 'The Complete Recordings' release obsolete. On the newer CDs, the digital cleaning is much more apparent and makes a huge difference to sound quality.

However, the 'alternate' takes contained on the 'Complete Recordings' edition have yet to be released elsewhere. But to complicate things, the 'King of the Delta Blues Singers' CDs contain a mixture of 1st and 2nd takes, so it's a hit and miss affair. Personally, I prefer the 1st takes of 'Crossroad Blues', 'Me and the Devil Blues' and 'Love in Vain' - and the newer CDs contain the second takes (which is how they appeared on the original releases in the 1960s).

So, for completists (at this point in time), the best bet is to own the 'Complete Recordings' set and the newer CDs - which I am sure you do already. Then you'll have everything (until they turn up another alternate take!).

NOTE: The first 'long box' edition of 'The Complete Recordings' release (in a larger, boxed format which included the two CDs and the liner notes in a separate 'book') contains poor 'remasterings' of the Johnson material. The second edition of 'The Complete Recordings', released in the mid 1990s and in standard double-CD packaging, offered significantly improved sound (but, to confuse things, was still labelled as being released in 1990!). Still with me? As I stated previously, if you have 'The Complete Recordings' in the double CD mid-90s pack, and the new 'King of the Delta Blues Singers' CDs, you're covered.

For a fascinating discussion of the history of 'The Complete Recordings', go to:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/archi ... 32227.html

All your queries should be well and truly addressed there!
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby telesan » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:26 pm

I've got the big box set, remastered, which I picked up @ best buy for $19.99 Christmas '98 I believe.

THE RJ recordings to own. However, you can never have too many RJ recordings IMO. At least get the 41.

The 41 set that I have sounds amazing (very clear)compared to the old RJ LP that I wore out as a kid.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby jellyroll baker » Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:59 am

>
>Also as Ry Cooder says " ...just imagine what wasn't
>recorded..."

I'm imagining. I think I'm going to cry.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby guitarsmurf » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:46 pm

Dito. Get the 41 track CD. But try and get the first issue from the early 90s, which includes a booklet. I think cduniverse.com still has some of those. I bought mine from them anyhoo.

Some of the alternate takes are actually better than the first take. So definitely worth it. Some reviewers complain that you have the first and alternate take one after the other, so the same song twice in a row, but hey... That's why there's a "next" button on your cd player.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby lightninboy » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:23 pm

>
>Some reviewers complain
>that you have the first and alternate take one after the
>other, so the same song twice in a row, but hey...

I listen to it almost every night as I'm going to sleep, and it gets annoying after a while.
They should of arranged the tracks differently.
Its great that its in chronological order, and,
for comparison's, its a good idea, but for pure listening pleasure it sucks.
Its good to have both takes, just not one after the other!

Also, I'd like to buy the "slowed down" or "correct speed" or whatever its called, version.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby jellyroll baker » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:06 pm

>I listen to it almost every night as I'm going to sleep, and
>it gets annoying after a while.
>They should of arranged the tracks differently.

That's the fantastic thing about modern technology - you can program it into a different order or burn creater your own custom mix. Problem solved!
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby lightninboy » Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:52 pm

My portable CD player doesn't play burnt CD's very well, and it only has a shuffle feature, no program feature.
Modern technology isn't all its cracked up to be.
(Unless you've got the money for all the latest gear!).
I get the point though.
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RE: Robert Johnson - Complete Recordings

Postby david » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:34 pm

I guess I have it all. I have the "King of the Delta..." volumes on LPs (as well as some classic Elmore James LPs). When that and casette tapes that broke and/or stretched were the only options I did most of my music listening in a stationary mode.

I find that I now do most of my listening while driving, or in waiting rooms. The result is that I have been working for years to get CD versions of my LP collection. When it came to RJ, I went for the 41 cut version.

It now seems like a lot of trouble to put an LP on the turn table just for a one side play.

In my opinion, even if you never play anything by RJ, and he's not one of your favorites, everyone interested in blues out to be as familiar as possible with his music and style.
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