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Robert Johnson Centennial Year Means Big Business For The Blues, Tourism And History!

Who is the King of Delta Blues? Robert Johnson of course! Born in Hazlehurst Mississippi in 1911, Robert Johnson’s mystique has grown into an international phenomenon and the 29 songs that he wrote and sang serve as the foundation for Rock & Roll. 2011 marks the 100th birthday celebration of the blues icon and has reignited an international interest in his life, music and family roots.

Claud Johnson, son of the late musical genius and founder of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation expresses his thoughts of his father. “Robert Johnson and his music mean so much to the state of Mississippi and American music culture! It is well documented that his music and style has influenced generations from Muddy Waters to B. B. King, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation intends to not only preserve his story but educate and entertain people and remind others of the power his influence and the role he played in contributing to the foundation of American popular music.”

The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation and museum is located in Crystal Springs, Mississippi in Copiah County not far from the Hazlehurst, Mississippi the birthplace of the music icon. A satellite office is located in Union Station train depot in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mississippi has made Robert Johnson one of its tourism ambassadors by placing he and writer Tennessee Williams on the cover of the state tourism guide for 2011; both of whom celebrate their centennial birthdays this year.

The international interest in Robert Johnson has engulfed four continents so far. Individuals from North America, South America, Asia & Europe are visiting Mississippi in an effort to embrace the Robert Johnson legacy and tour areas associated with Robert Johnson.

In an effort to expand the marketing and merchandising components of Robert Johnson and the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation, the organization has received approval from the United States Postal Service to utilize the image dedicated to Mr. Johnson by the postal service in 1994.

“The Postal Service is pleased to join in the national observance of Robert Johnson’s centennial year,” said spokesman Roy Betts. “In 1994, the Postal Service honored Robert Johnson on a U.S. postage stamp for his extraordinary contributions as a blues music legend. We are especially proud that the foundation, in agreement with the Postal Service, is resurrecting this special stamp to appear on centennial promotions and merchandise. The legacy of Robert Johnson lives on.”

For more information about Robert Johnson and centennial events please visit RobertJohnsonBluesFoundation.org and Facebook.com/robertjohnsonblues.

Robert Johnson U.S. Postage Stamp

CONTACT: Michael L. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
Robert Johnson Blues Foundation
[email protected]
601-613-0805

Folk Alliance International To Award Robert Johnson For Lifetime Achievement

Folk Alliance International is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Folk Alliance Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are Harry Belafonte, Robert Johnson, and The Highlander Center. The awards presentation will take place on the opening evening of the 24th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee. Read the full press release.

The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation Interview – American Blues News

The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation was founded in 2005 by Claud Johnson, the son of Robert Johnson. As the centennial year of Robert Johnson’s birth presses on, the foundation continues to explore and expand the relevancy of the man whose music and myth has inspired “a million dreams.” Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the RJBF’s interview with American Blues News.

Remembering Honeyboy Edwards, Dead At Age 96

David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the son of a sharecropper, the grandson of a slave and — for an extraordinary 80-plus years — the voice of the Delta blues, died Monday at his home in Chicago, said his longtime manager, Michael Frank. He was 96 and had been in declining health with heart problems.

He picked cotton and pulled corn on Mississippi Delta plantations from age 9, living the hard life that the blues were created to address. As a young man, he traveled across the South with a guitar on his shoulder, rode the rails, got thrown in prison on various trumped-up charges and, along the way, made music with the founders of the art form: Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Son House, Tommy McLennan, Sonny Boy Williamson and Big Joe Williams.

“You could play the blues like it was a lonesome thing — it was a feeling,” he said in a 1998 Chicago Tribune interview. “The blues is nothing but a story. … The verses which are sung in the blues is a true story, what people are doing … what they all went through. It’s not just a song, see?”

He is survived by daughter Betty Washington, and her children and grandchildren; a stepdaughter, Dolly McGinister; and nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at McCullough Funeral & Cremation Services, 851 E. 75th St. in Chicago. A “Friends and Fans Gathering” will follow at Lee’s Unleaded Blues, 7401 S. South Chicago Ave., with doors opening at 8 p.m.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

Honeyboy Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Steven Johnson
Honeyboy Edwards (right), Hubert Sumlin (left) and Steven Johnson (center) at the Berklee Performance Center in February 2011.