Friday, May 21, 2010

Robert Johnson - King of the Delta Blues Singers,
Slower Version, Columbia

Some time ago I posted Robert Johnson's King of the Delta Blues Singers.
The next day I received the following comment;
Moos - it's widely agreed now that all of Johnson's 78s were speeded up. If you've
some means of slowing the LP down - like a direct drive turntable - you'll
suddenly find yourself listening to a sexy young black guy with a cool guitar
sound - less of paranoid gabbler, more of a human being.
Le Grand Maître.
Well, Grand Maître, here it is, I had to gamble a bit how much to slow it down.
My Technics turntable helped me finding a suitable speed and I guess this
must be it more or less. I totally agree with the slower version.


1 Crossroads blues
2 Terraplane blues
3 Come on in my kitchen
4 Walking blues
5 Last fair deal gone down
6 32-20 blues
7 Kindhearted woman blues
8 If I had posession over judgment day
9 Preaching blues
10 When you got a good friend
11 Rambling on my mind
12 Stones in my passway
13 Traveling riverside blues
14 Mikcow's calf blues
15 Me and the devil blues
16 Hellhound on my trail



urge2burge said...

Very, very cool! Thanks for the extra effort!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the slower rip! Gotta listen to it now


Sun Ira said...

I'm down at the crossroads with Robert, and it's sounding REAL good. Sounds like he put down the crack pipe. Thanks for making the effort.

Ned Buskirk said...

what a huge find. this was one of the first blues LPs I truly tripped and lost myself in... how could it get better!!! but here you have it... yowsuh.

gracenotes said...

Thanks for taking the trouble to do this and posting it - very interesting, and much more convincing than another, even slower, version that's doing the rounds. "Widely agreed" might be right, but there's wide disagreement too! There are plenty of different opinions on the subject, most of which are aired around the web.

reservatory said...

Who knew?? It really does make more sense to me this way! Thanks for a complete surprise, and a welcome one.

Perrata 2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
symbolkid said...

Never thought about it! Thank you!
Here is an article with even more slower samples

Anonymous said...

really interesting debates.... the link provided by *symbolkid* also had an additional link with 3 pages of back & forth... This 'slower' version of yours sounds most of the time just like the 2-cassette set I bought back in approx. 1991. Was that the corrected version (or un-corrected, or de-corrected or re-un-de-corrected?!?), as mentioned in some of the above links?

...So now I'm dl'ing your original posting to see if it sounds faster than what I was accustomed to... In any case, quickly browsing the discussions, though not word-for-word: nobody mentioned that old time electricity was not at all standard. Academic field recordists from even a few decades ago had to deal with that, as well. Sometimes your recording and/or playback equipment runs faster or slower. A reference pitch is one way to re-calibrate, back in the lab...

ALSO, I should repeat that AUDACITY (free dl) can change speed and/or pitch, even play things backwards!!!

BY THE WAY, the ones (of yours) which do strike me as "slower" generally sound better. I did always think some (a few here & there) of his stuff sounded weird, cracked-out, etc. I might even go slower still, who knows???

dmatlb said...

I agree, this is the best slowed-down version I've heard. Do you happen to know how much speed reduction you used? I'd like to replicate your effort.

moos said...

dmatlb, I use a Technics turntable SL 1200, the pitch adjustment lever scales to 8. I set it at minus 3. At this speed the bottom dots at the measurementpoint stopped turning. beside it, it says; -3,3%, that seems little but feels like it's just right. The main thing that convinced me was my hearing, the voice sounds most natural at this speed.

Anonymous said...

This stuff gets remastered every few years. It's amazing what a little tweaking will do. Thanks Moos, outstanding post!

Perrata 2000 said...

I agree, what makes this experiment so compelling is the way the voice sounds so effortless and natural.

Anonymous said...

got me thinking about slowing down on of Awesome Tapes from Africa's posts... Here's my comment:

owlqaeda said...

the most interesting thing that struck me about this fine rip brother moos is the how glaringly apparent the similarities between our boy bobby j & son house become as result of the slowing down of his repertoire. it's been widely documented that robert johnson was primarily inspired by & largely indebted to son house & willie brown. i've always been able to hear distinct similarities in their material, just like everyone i'm sure, but one listen to your slower rip of 'walkin blues' & it's sooo obvious. this style colours the rest of the material also; the deliberateness of the rough hewn pace, the slidework, the tremulously fluctuating field holler vocal style... it's all there for my ears to pick out, finally. thank you for this, i can't imagine owl ever go back to the other recordings. it it feels must be right.

wilfofhove said...

Can't thank you enough for this. It's like hearing the album for the first time again. No bad thing.
Your blog is amazing, a (hopefully) never-ending source of astonishment.
Thanks too for the RJ artwork. Oddly thrilling to see it in green.

The PopCulturist said...

Thanks so much for this. I'd be interested in hearing it at the precise 20% slower it's supposedly meant to be (which I guess is what gracenotes is referring to in their comment, but this does very, very nicely! Eerier than ever.

Visit my blog and have a look 'round if you'd like:

The PopCulturist said...

PS anyone reading know where to find that "even slower" version gracenotes is talking about? gracenotes if you're reading could you perhaps upload it somewhere for us?

taro nombei said...

much appreciated, Moos.
Got to say, hearing RJ anew like this is a bit like hearing the cleaned up versions of Exile on Main Street — revelatory!

Delta-Slider said...

Very cool! Sounds even better and I didn't think that possible! Thanks for the effort!

Anonymous said...

Sounds real nice!! sounds more human... Thanks a lot..

Hoochie Coochie Man

Anonymous said...

thank you for this rip. personally, i prefer it this way. yes it's more human, more emotionnal.
this is terrific !
they should release it. it's very important for the understanding of robert johnson music.

aer stephen said...

thanks for making this available as a high kbps mp3 download. the studies, however, say the speed could be up to 20% too fast at times (search robert johnson on - lots of great info) even makes it about twice as slow as you do - and it sounds even more authentic.

Matthew Ingram said...

@aer stephen

quite right mate. this is way to fast

the voice has that quavery wave in it that you get in ardkore records! the breaks are impossibly nifty - and basically he sounds too high-pitched.

Graham said...


Thought you might be interested to know of this repost (that links to you)if you had not already seen it:

Anonymous said...

This Robert Johnson, Volume Two was the most revelatory listening I have had! Unbelieveable!

Esperia said... our new videoclip dedicated to Robert Johnson

Anonymous said...

password protected?

Anonymous said...

Link is dead. Can you reupload

NiKT said...

Yes, please, reupload! Thank you!

unchienandalou said...

Yes please, a reupload is needed from 2013 people!