Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Brother Robert Update

8 Sep

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

This photo was taken inside the Dallas, Texas studio where Robert Johnson recorded “Hell Hound On My Trail” in June, 1937.

The Brother Robert memoir project–Mrs. A.C. Anderson’s story of growing up with Robert Johnson–is just less than half-funded with a little over a week to go in the kickstarter campaign. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, we either reach the $15,000 goal, or you get refunded.

So far I’ve been very pleased with the support the project has received, and especially the quality of support–the donations have been tremendously generous. And they’ve come from highly respected individuals who want to see this happen.

I think the challenge has been one of reach. Going into this, I thought for sure that the project could find 1,000 people who’d each give $15 to make it happen. It’s gotten in front of maybe a couple hundred total.

So, please do share with friends and colleagues. When people see and hear Mrs. Anderson, they give. Twenty percent of the people who view the minute-long video on the project page end up donating.

The work has been so rewarding. Mrs. Anderson’s memories, not only of Robert Johnson, but of the people who he spent his life with, are precious. I really look forward to when the world gets to hear  Mrs. Anderson’s voice.

The process of getting this story down is that I am interviewing her, transcribing the interviews, and shaping what she’s told me into a narrative. (Interviews with a 92-year-old don’t always stick to a clean chronology!) We’ve covered most if not all of what she knows about Robert Johnson’s life. As a longtime Memphis history nerd, it’s been a  thrill to explore yet another neighborhood of the past, getting to know the characters who populated it, and spending time in the places where people relaxed, ate, went for beer, and listened to records.

From here, we’ll discuss Robert Johnson’s afterlife, and how his growing stardom after death has affected his family. The entire story is an incredibly moving and poignant look at an African-American family. The family has survived many threats to its existence while re-grouping and reshaping, and always maintaining, caring for the memories of those who’ve gone on.

Thank you again. Mrs. Anderson is no more of an Internet person than she is a first-name person, but she’s very grateful to you for your help and really looking forward to sharing her story. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brotherrobert/brother-robert

Advertisements

Brother Robert’s Memphis

28 Aug

RJMemphis

The memoir of growing up with bluesman Robert Johnson is a little closer to life thanks to your help. There’s a new reward to backers of the Brother Robert kickstarter campaign. In gratitude for your $15 donation you’ll receive a print of this original pen and ink drawing of the block where Johnson’s family lived, as the neighborhood appeared during his time. Taken from an archival photograph, the scene depicts a location that has as strong a claim as any to being the site of the true crossroads. You’ll have to wait for the book to learn the rest of that story. But thanks to you, it’s happening. The project really wouldn’t be possible without your help.

%d bloggers like this: