Blind Willie Johnson (January 25, 1897 – September 18, 1945) was an American gospel blues singer-guitarist and evangelist. His landmark recordings completed between 1927 and 1930 -- 30 songs in total -- display a combination of powerful "chest voice" singing, slide guitar skills, and originality that has influenced later generations of musicians. Even though Johnson's records sold well, as a street performer and preacher, he had little wealth or recognition in his lifetime. His life was poorly documented and left to speculation; however, overtime music historians such as Samuel Charters have uncovered more about Johnson and his five recording sessions.

Johnson's music experienced a revival which began in the 1960s, in large due to the effort by blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis. Overtime, Johnson's work has become more commercially accessible through compilation albums such as Blind Willie Johnson 1927-1930 and The Complete Blind Willie Johnson, both efforts spearheaded by Charters. As a result, Johnson is credited as one of the most influential practitioners of the blues and his slide guitar playing, particularly on his widely-covered hymn "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground", is also highly praised. Other recordings by Johnson that have been interpreted on several different occasions include "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed", "It's Nobody's Fault but Mine", and "John the Revelator".

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Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1989 Praise God I'm Satisfied 1
1991 Sweeter as the Years Go By 1
1993 The Complete Blind Willie Johnson 1
1995 Dark Was the Night: The Essential Recordings of Blind Willie Johnson 1
1998 Dark Was the Night 1
1998 Dark Was the Night 1
2004 Complete Blues: The Soul of a Man 1
2004 King of the Guitar Evangelists 1
2013 The Rough Guide to Blues Legends: Blind Willie Johnson 5 2
The Soul of a Man 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1928 Dark Was the Night – Cold Was the Ground / It's Nobody's Fault but Mine 1
1928 Mother's Children Have a Hard Time / If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down 1
1930 John the Revelator / You’re Going to Need Somebody on Your Bond 1

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