That Phantom Robert Johnson

City Jackdaw

He is like a shadow; like a phantom. Obscured by the mists of time and legend. Death has removed from us all means of finding someone today who could contribute some colour to our drab and faded depictions.

The itinerant musician. The walking bluesman. Travelling along the Delta trails, jumping freight trains, instrument of choice strapped to his back. Playing his music then moving on. For so long, we saw not his face, apart from the features of imagination. We glimpsed only his outline. His silhouette.

An unsubstantial suggestion of the man.

There are moments when desperate afficianados would get witnesses, while they still breathed, to give ageing descriptions to composite artists to try and bring him back into the light. To give him an identity and a face beyond the anonymity of the voice alone.

Is the voice not enough? The music? To convince us of one who once…

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