The Ghost of Robert Johnson

“The Prodigal considers those that preceded him and their contributions… He is sad about those that were not recognized in their lifetimes… This seems unfair to him, but he is grateful for them…

“The truth is, when people find out the state of consciousness I find myself so often when writing…it freaks them out…  This song “came through” from nowhere…  Regrettably, there is no retro-compensatory mechanism for the likes of Melvin, Van Gogh or Johnson. They lived, created and died…leaving behind legacies of work that would later be deemed “masterpieces” by critics and then subsequently filtered to the pedestrian level. Though not recognized in their respective lifetimes, from what we know of them, they sensed that what they were doing was somehow worthwhile… It is this notion which drives most of us…for we are all contributing… How many significant works of Melvins, Van Goghs and Johnsons are in trunks, notebooks, closets and storage units…never to be known…or will we? Never confuse popularity or acceptance for significance!  Too often, the most significant people and works are never recognized by the Herd!”


When I walked on the earth, I was known as Johnson
Just a common name, like any ol’ one
Yea they made me great, but I never won
 
The dark hand of man, plays this guitar
The lines on my palms, said I wouldn’t run far
Yea they made me great, they made me a star  
 
I spun my songs wherever I was
Out late and in trouble maybe just because
The restless sort runs short…cause that’s what we does 
 
(Guitar break)
 
A bad deal in the dark, an unmarked grave
I played for my meals and my women the same
On the night that I left, nobody came
 
(Guitar break)
 
Well I lost my bet for good
When I stepped out where no man should
I caught the train, but I never paid
You see your rent is already spent when your beds never made
 
When I walked on the earth, I was known as Johnson
Just a common name like any ol’ one
Yea, they made me great, but I never won
Yea, they made me great, but I never won
Yea, they made me great…the name was Johnson