It was in… popular juke joints — segregated stores or private houses that doubled, after hours, as recreational places — that his now legendary music career began… The young musician had trained on a diddley bow — one or more strings nailed taut to the side of a barn…
…The guitar playing on Johnson’s recordings was unusually complex for its time. Most early Delta blues musicians played simple guitar figures that harmonized with their voices. But Johnson, imitating the boogie-woogie style of piano playing, used his guitar to play rhythm, bass and slide simultaneously, all while singing.
(Reggie Ugwu, “Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle,” NYTimes, 9-25-19)
(c) 2019 JMN