top of page

New, definitive! Heavily researched and highly readible, this definitive biography of Delta blues legend Robert Johnson makes (in the words of co-author Bruce Conforth) all the books that came before obsolete. (Cat Head sells the others, too, of course!) Highly recommended for anyone interested in the man, music and mythology tied to Johnson's name — including blues fans' lingering questions about the "Crossroads," three headstones in three separate cemeteries and violent death of the timeless character who Columbia Records deemed the "King of the Delta Blues Singers." Written by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow. - Roger Stolle, Cat Head


From the web: Robert Johnson’s recordings, made in 1936 and 1937, have profoundly influenced generations of singers, guitarists, and songwriters. Yet until now, his short life—he was murdered at the age of 27—has been poorly documented. Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson’s death certificate in 1967. Bruce Conforth began his study of Johnson’s life and music in 1970 and made it his mission to fill in what was still unknown about him. In this definitive biography, the two authors relied on every interview, resource, and document, much of it material no one has seen before. This is the first book about Johnson that documents his lifelong relationship with family and friends in Memphis, details his trip to New York, uncovers where and when his wife Virginia died and the impact this had on him, fully portrays the other women Johnson was involved with, and tells exactly how and why he died and who gave him the poison that killed him. Up Jumped the Devil will astonish blues fans worldwide by painting a living, breathing portrait of a man who was heretofore little more than a legend.

Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson book

    bottom of page