Brother Robert : Growing Up with Robert Johnson
Though only 27-years-young and relatively unknown at the time of his tragic death in 1938, Robert Johnson's enduring recordings have solidified his status as a progenitor of the Delta Blues style. And yet, while his music has retained the steadfast devotion of modern listeners, much remains unknown about the man who penned and played these timeless tunes. Few people alive today actually remember what Johnson was really like, and those who do have largely upheld their silence-until now.In Brother Robert, nonagenarian Annye Anderson sheds new light on a real-life figure largely obscured by his own legend: her kind and incredibly talented stepbrother, Robert Johnson. This book chronicles Johnson's unconventional path to stardom-from the harrowing story behind his illegitimate birth, to his first strum of the guitar on Anderson's father's knee, to the genre-defining recordings that would one day secure his legacy. Along the way, readers are gifted not only with Anderson's personal anecdotes, but with colorful recollections passed down to Anderson by members of their family-the people who knew Johnson best. Readers also learn about the contours of his working life in Memphis, never-before-disclosed details about his romantic history, and all of Johnson's favorite things, from foods and entertainers to brands of tobacco and pomade. Together, these stories don't just bring the mythologized Johnson back down to earth; they preserve both his memory and his integrity.For decades, Anderson and her family have ignored the tall tales of Johnson 'selling his soul to the devil' and the speculative to fictionalized accounts of his life that passed for biography. Brother Robert is here to set the record straight. Featuring a foreword by Elijah Wald and a Q&A with Anderson, Lauterbach, Wald, and Peter Guralnick, this book paints a vivid portrait of an elusive figure who forever changed the musical landscape as we know it.
- Hardback | 224 pages
- 140 x 210mm
- 09 Jun 2020
- INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
- Da Capo Press Inc
- United States
- 10 b&w photos t/o, 1 8-pg b&w insert
"Annye Anderson's lush, vivid memories from Robert Johnson's home base give the bluesman a personal dimension like never before. How he walked, the pomade in his hair, his protection of his guitar. The aura of mystery remains, but with Brother Robert, Johnson gains character and context, and becomes more of a person than we've ever known this specter to be."--Robert Gordon, author of Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters and It Came From Memphis "Anderson offers vivid, personal glimpses of her stepbrother ... providing a colorful picture .... [An] earnest and enlightening memoir."--Publishers Weekly "An illuminating portrait of an artist lost in the mists of history and mystery."--Kirkus Publishers Weekly, "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2020"
About Annye C. Anderson
Annye C. Anderson is a retired educator and administrator of the Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts.Preston Lauterbach is the author of Bluff City, Beale Street Dynasty, and The Chitlin Circuit. He lives near Charlottesville, VA.