Walt's Look Around: Robert Johnson's family and musical heritage - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Robert Johnson's family and musical heritage

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
HAZLEHURST, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Here's a one-sentence history of Robert Johnson. He was an early bluesman in the Mississippi Delta primarily, who influenced all the bluesmen who followed him, who in turn, influenced R & B, Rock and Roll and Country Music, which, over the last three quarters of a century, has molded Western Culture as we know it. 

Okay, it was a long sentence. But that's a hint at the significance of Robert Johnson. By and large, what you listen to on the radio today can be traced back to Robert Johnson's influence, either through Jimmie Rodgers for country music or Elvis for Rock and everybody from Ike Turner on up or down for R & B.

I'm sure music purists knew about Robert Johnson all along. I first heard of him, in a set of his music, released by Columbia Records in 1990.

Now, Robert Johnson had a son, Claud Johnson of Hazlehurst. Claud knew his daddy's name all of his life. But found out WHO Robert Johnson was about the time the rest of us did. Claud was raised by his grandparents. And he calls his grandfather, dad in this clip about meeting Robert Johnson.

"When I was seven years old, I seen him twice," said Claud. "He came to my grandparents house, my grandparents, they were the ones that raised me. He talked with my granddad. He wanted to marry my mother. But my dad, being a minister, he said no blues singer will marry my daughter. So he left and I never saw him again.

Claud grew up, like the rest of us, not knowing the influence of Robert Johnson until Columbia Records was acquired by Sony. And Robert Johnson was hot then. And Sony came to Hazlehurst and searched the courthouse for any Robert Johnson heirs and found Claud.

"I was really surprised, because I never knew that he was that famous," said Claud.

Claus's son, Steve, puts the revelation into family perspective.

So when he found out and WE found out who Robert Johnson was and the significance," said Steve Johnson. "It kept us humble but at the same time it made us real proud of our heritage.

And Robert Johnson is a part of Mississippi's musical heritage. Which you will hear a lot more about over the coming Year of Robert Johnson.

Copyright 2015 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly