Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.

I want to help

Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson was arguably the greatest and most popular ‘sanctified’ singer to record in the pre-World War II era. His forceful singing and stunning guitar work ensured that he continued to sell records even into the Depression. His blindness has been attributed to many causes, the most likely being that his stepmother threw lye-water in his face during a jealous fit when he was about seven. That he should turn to music after this is a recurring motif in the stories of many blind black singers, but even earlier, Johnson had admitted to a desire to preach. Now he combined the two talents to produce outstandingly powerful religious music as he played for tips on the streets. Despite this commitment to the church there seems to have been a secular side to his music, and it remains probable that he recorded two un-issued blues under the pseudonym of Blind Texas Marlin at his second session for Columbia Records. Johnson began recording for the label in December 1927, by which time he had moved to Dallas; his first release became an instant success, selling in excess of 15, 000 copies. Between then and April 1930 he recorded a total of 30 issued tracks (all for the same company), maintaining a level of quality that is amazing even by today’s standards.

Read more


God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
God Don't Never...
Alligator Records


Muddy Waters Muddy Waters
Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf
Mississippi John Hurt Mississippi John Hurt
guitar, acoustic
Sleepy John Estes Sleepy John Estes
guitar, acoustic
Reverend Gary Davis
guitar, acoustic
John Fahey
guitar, acoustic
Blind Blake
guitar, acoustic
Support our sponsor

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT  

New Service For Musicians!

Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with Premium Musician Profile.