There is a Faustian myth associated with the Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson (1911-1938). Johnson, a recognized bluesman in Mississippi by the mid-30s, is said to have suddenly disappeared one day, supposedly venturing into the outskirts of town, in Clarksdale, where, upon entering a crossroads, met the Devil himself. Johnson, in order to gain more agility and speed in his guitar playing, traded his soul to the devil. During one of his two recording sessions, he recorded “Up Jumped the Devil”, in which his dexterity and fast-paced guitar playing baffled the most pious blues aficionado. The Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras once held that mind (nous) was uniform, and was just as good in animals as in man; but the one seeming difference between the two was in the fact that man had hands. Robert Johnson, then, communicated the pain, agony, sorrow, love-loss and hurt accumulated in him through the sublime art of his hands. And therefore he was utterly genial and a consummate musician. Mississippi Fred McDowell, another important bluesman, once posited that he “made the guitar say what I say”, and Johnson wholly exemplifies that maxim. Johnson’s blues are now indispensable classics: “Crossroad Blues”, “Love in Vain”, “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Red Hot”, and many others. Immortality, then, is a key motif associated with the image of Robert Johnson: for his blues are immortal. His guitar playing and his powerful vocals rake deep into the soul and draw out the most intense revelations about the self, the human condition, that until this day have been unequaled. Skip James comes close, perhaps. But what characterizes Johnson’s unique abilities seems to be drawn from the hardships of his everyday experiences in Mississippi. Johnson was a womanizer, a gambler and a hard drinker; although these traits are inherent in many people, in Johnson it seemed to had been food for thought; yet consequently he was said to have been poisoned by a man whose wife Johnson had been sleeping with. Robert Johnson, who made about 40 recordings in his lifetime, was, as Eric Clapton once said, deeply soulful, and when he was with his music, as music historian Stephen LaVere emphasizes, he “became one with it and sang with it." His fervent cries were simultaneously universal and sublime. As Keith Richards once observed, "His guitar playing was like Bach, and voice was so eerie and compelling, that it had a class of its own."