If you've never heard Blind Willie Johnson
, you are in for one of the great, bone-chilling treats in music. Johnson
played slide guitar and sang in a rasping, false bass that could freeze the blood. But no bluesman was he; this was gospel music of the highest order, full of emotion and heartfelt commitment. Of all the guitar-playing evangelists, Blind Willie Johnson
may have been the very best. Though not related by bloodlines to Robert Johnson
, comparisons in the emotional commitment of both men cannot be helped. This two-CD anthology collects everything known to exist, and that's a lot of stark, harrowing, emotional commitment no matter how you slice it. Not for the faint of heart, but hey, the good stuff never is.