Tonight: The 75th Anniversary of Robert Johnson's 508 Park Sessions
If you've been following the saga of 508 Park Avenue, the building where famed bluesman Robert Johnson recorded between June 19 and 20 in 1937, you'll remember it was pulled back from the edge of demolition, a few ideas for its renovation were tossed around, and its future finally sits in the hands of its neighbor, First Presbyterian Church, which plans to turn it into an outreach program for at-risk and homeless individuals, and local historian Alan Govenar will be curating The Museum of Street Culture.
The Mississippi-born Johnson was perhaps its most famous visitor, but in the same swath of June 75 years ago, a host of blues and country acts recorded there as well, including Bob Wills, Light Crust Doughboys, the Blue Ridge Playboys and the Saddle Tramps. It was there Johnson laid down tracks which would influence the next century of American blues and rock and roll. If you listen to those final Dallas recordings, full of the snaps and pops that indicate age like rings on a tree trunk, you can't help but get chills. Johnson's music was concerned with the darker corners and knowing these songs were cut a year before his untimely death, there's a spiritual heaviness to them.
Tonight, there's a celebration in honor of the 75th anniversary of the session and Juneteenth, at The Stewpot and First Presbyterian Church. Joel Foy, Aaron Burton, Rev. K.M. Williams, Christian Dozzler, Shoot Low Sheriff and those Light Crust Doughboys all perform, starting at 7p.m.
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