Spent a spell at the Blues Museum in the old Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad freight depot where they had carefully reassembled Muddy Waters' sharecropper cabin. Interestingly, Chatalaina's daddy was born into a depression era sharecropper family as well. Those were hardscrabble days in the Delta no matter your skin color.
Tommy Johnson never made any bones about how he learned the blues.....
You want to learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where the road crosses that way.....just a little ' fore 12 that night.....be playing a piece there by yourself.....A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar and he'll tune it. And then he'll play a piece and hand it back to you. That's the way I learned to play anything I want.
Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson was not as forthright as Tommy but the rumors and innuendo persist. Some of that is traced back to Son House.....
When Robert Johnson got through playing all our mouths was open. He sold his soul to the devil to get to play like that.
Henry Goodman saw the vision and said it was Rosedale, not Clarksdale, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Man In Black, and I don't mean Johnny Cash.....
Robert Johnson thinking about Son House preaching to him, Put that guitar down, boy, you drivin’ people nuts. Robert Johnson needing as always a woman and some whiskey. Big trees all around, dark and lonesome road, a crazed, poisoned dog howling and moaning in a ditch alongside the road sending electrified chills up and down his spine, coming up on a crossroads just south of Rosedale. Robert Johnson, feeling bad and lonesome, knows people up the highway in Gunnison. Can get a drink of whiskey and more up there. Man sitting off to the side of the road on a log at the crossroads says, You’re late, Robert Johnson.
Chatalaina told us that day that any crossroads in the Delta would do so long as it was isolated and the moon was right.
The Wine Commonsewer
Photo Credit: Bill Kalles
*No Star has done made sure that Lone Chatalaine ain't lonely no more