Cross Road Blues was written by blues icon Robert Johnson in 1936. Over time, and perhaps with more than a little help from Eric Clapton, the song is more commonly known in rock and roll circles as Crossroads. The song tells the now mythic tale of a man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for an extraordinary gift (in Robert Johnson's case, incredible guitar skills).
Selling one's soul to the devil for fame and fortune is a familiar scenario. It's been played out in endless comedy sketches, movies and songs, but history bears witness to Robert Johnson's particular case. More than a few books regardiing the blues, (Robert Palmer's Deep Blues in particular), contain interviews from other iconic bluesmen, Son House especially, who recall Robert Johnson being a sub par guitarist at best. House had recounted how Johnson, after trying to make it and failed, as a blues guitarist, traveled around the South for a short time and returned to the Delta region with incredible guitar skills. Their only conclusion, (backed up Robert Johnson's own account), was that his skills were indeed obtained from Satan in exchange for his soul. Johnson would further fuel rumors about his "deal with the devil" in his song "Me And The Devil Blues". In the song, Johnson sings "...When you knocked upon my door, And I said 'hello Satan' I believe it's time to go."
Unfortunately for Robert Johnson, his widespread fame would not come for almost 30 years after his death. Discovered by young British blues fans, such as The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and of course Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson and fellow blues musicians such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf's music experienced a renaissance in the early and mid 1960's, that still exists today.
Although "Crossroads" had been recorded a handful of times since Robert Johnson version, notably Elmore James, and a pre Cream Eric Clapton, with a young Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce and Paul Jones in tow (the one shot group The Powerhouse - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_Road_Blues), it wasn't until Clapton recorded the now iconic version with Cream in 1966, that Crossroads became the song recognized by millions of rock fans today, although with some minor editing on Mr. Clapton's part. Cream's version contain the lyrics " Going Down to Rosedale, take my rider my side" which are actually lyrics from another Robert Johson song, Travelin' Riverside Blues... http://www.metrolyrics.com/traveling-riverside-blues-lyrics-robert-johnson.html
You can see Robert Johnson's original lyrics here... https://genius.com/Robert-johnson-cross-road-blues-lyrics and you can Clapton's revised lyrics here... https://genius.com/Cream-crossroads-lyrics
And finally, you can hear Robert Johnson's original version of Cross Road Blues, here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd60nI4sa9A
Additional sources for this post are https://timscoverstory.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/cross-road-bluescrossroads-robert-johnson-and-cream/ and http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1285
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.