June 16, 2011 Music

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Lauren Patrick is a native Southerner and the editor of Pretty Southern.com. She’s a member of the Atlanta Blogger Network and Atlanta Food Blogger Society. #LovetheSouth #GoDawgs Follow Lauren on Twitter

Every Thursday from now until (well who knows when!) we will be featuring a Pretty Southern Song. These lyrics and tunes will epitomize the ideals of the South. It will showcase our heritage, our musical culture as a race born and raised below the Mason Dixon line.

To start off our exploration of Southern heritage through song, none would be more appropriate than Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads.” Though Johnson only lived to be 27, his impact on music set the stage for generations. Eric Clapton, whose cover of “Crossroads” could be credited for Johnson’s infamy, said the artist was “the most important blues singer that ever lived”.

Of course, in the South, we love a good ghost story. Johnson was born, raised and supposedly killed by poison all in the great state of Mississippi. Legend has that Johnson sold his soul to Satan in exchange for fame. Other Johnson songs including “Cross Road Blues” and “Me And The Devil” reference the pact he made with the Dark One to become a legendary artist. Reading the lyrics of “Crossroads” he hear Johnson crooning for redemption.

I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, have mercy now,
Save poor Bob if you please

Standin’ at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Standin’ at the crossroads, risin’ sun goin’ down
Standin’ at the crossroads baby, the risin’ sun goin’ down
I believe to my soul now, po’ Bob is sinkin’ down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin’,
Lord, baby I’m sinkin’ down

I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn’t have no sweet woman, ooh well,
Babe, in my distress

Whether he was in cohorts with the Devil, or just a damn fine artist, we can all agree the Robert Johnson was one of the greatest Southern musicians…ever.

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