March 31, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 174 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, March 31st, (1:00-2:30 pm)

Our theme this week the origins of Robert Johnson. There’s a powerful mythology around the figure of Robert Johnson, way out of proportion to his contemporary importance when he was alive. We’ve never devoted much time to Robert Johnson’s music on The Blues & Rhythm Show, but this week we are looking at the sources of his songs, guided by Elijah Wald’s book Escaping the Delta and a CD compilation he edited for the Yazoo label, a CD titled Back to the Cross-Roads. A large part of the myth of Robert Johnson rests on the idea that his songs were not only unique but were an expression of his tormented psyche. Not given much consideration was the idea that Johnson was developing songs from models that were available to him from popular blues artists like Leroy Carr, Kokomo Arnold or Lonnie Johnson, something which Wald demonstrated in considerable detail in his book. And, while Robert Johnson revealed certain preoccupations in his songwriting, they were not in any way outside of blues convention As the title of Wald’s book suggests, Johnson’s ambitions were larger than the Delta region he emerged from and, while his music was an anticipation of the later Mississippi-in-Chicago blues and the beat of rock and roll, Wald wondered if his imagination might not have taken him in a quite different direction.

On the Show:

Michael Jerome Browne – Steve Earle – Johnnie Temple – Robert Johnson – Leroy Carr – Kokomo Arnold – Scrapper Blackwell – Rev. E.W. Clayborn, The Guitar Evangelist – Tampa Red – Mississippi Sheiks – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until April 27th.

Contact Us

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (April 7th)

Can’t tell you right now.

August 12, 2013

Blues and Rhythm Show 92 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

No feature this week, but we do have a couple of rare boogie tracks and a brief set of blues from the thirties. Later in the program, soul from Quinn Ivy’s Broadway Sound Studios of Sheffield, Alabama and a couple of tacks from Memphis. There’ll be some golden era gospel along the way , as well

On the show: 

Joe Turner –  Robert Johnson  –  Big Bill – Rosetta Howard – Downchild Blues Band – Tony Borders –  Bill Brandon – Timmy Thomas – Dixie Hummingbirds – Montreal Jubilation Choir – Booker T. Jones – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until September 10th.

Contact Us

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (August 20th)

Another general program next week. No feature. We have more loose ends to tie. We have decided to postpone our repeat of the John Lomax Southern Journey feature and reschedule for August 27th, last Tuesday of the summer.


For anyone interested in Zydeco music after our special on Cajun and Zydeco, two weeks ago, there is a pretty comprehensive full-length study of the music by Michael Tisserand–The Kingdom of Zydeco (Avon, 1998).



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