So when Robert Johnson’s “The Centennial Collection” was released, I jumped at the chance to reform my opinion on the genre via the greatest bluesman of them all. It features all of Johnson’s recorded output, just like the 1990 release, “The Complete Recordings,” but features different text in the included booklet.
Forty-two tracks later, I still don’t like blues. I have heard 29 Johnson songs and 13 alternate takes of the same tunes, which sound exactly the same to me. Johnson certainly knew what he was doing; that’s no disappointment. I just am not interested after four or five consecutive tunes (I note “consecutive” for the full disclosure that I did not even try to listen to the whole thing in one sitting).
There is one thing to be said for this double-CD release, however: I can definitively say that I have tried my hardest to like blues and failed. If you’re a fan of Johnson and don’t already own his full discography, having all his output in one release will be quite nice. If you’re like me and are on the fence, this is also a worthy listen for you.
I just fell on the “nope, no thanks” side. —Stephen Carradini