Remember ‘Love in Vain’ performed by The Rolling Stones or ‘Crossroads’ performed by Cream? Remember wondering who was this ‘Robert Johnson’ who wrote such fine songs? Well, like many of you, I first heard Robert Johnson’s songs performed by other artists. Again, like many of you, I was intrigued and wanted to hear the original versions, and when I did I was smitten – what wonderful music, what intensity and honesty in the songs and such virtuoso delivery. This timeless quality has had such a lasting influence on fans and artists all over the world and has played a huge part in making blues music truly ‘international’. Wouldn’t it be a joy to celebrate Robert Johnson’s achievements by creating a permanent tribute to his work and by doing so, provide an educational facility for our youngsters to continue Robert’s legacy? Well, thanks to The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation, there is a wonderful project currently being planned to do just that … The Robert Johnson Blues Park. Take a look at what’s happening and follow its progress …
Firstly, what is The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation?
The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation, initiated by the Robert Johnson Family, Crystal Springs, MS., is dedicated to preserving the music and memory of Robert Johnson through the provision of art education, competitions and scholarships.
President of The Robert Johnson Blues Foundation is Steven Johnson, grandson of Robert Johnson.
Click here for full details of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation.
The Robert Johnson Blues Park
“The Robert Johnson Blues Park will be a monumental tribute to a legendary bluesman for his ageless recordings from the 1930’s, and to restore the history of the man behind the 29 songs which are still being performed today. It will be a global destination that will bring blues fans together, teach new generations the priceless history of the land, and inspire all musicians alike. As well as a tribute to the famous bluesman himself, the park entrance gate pays tribute to the State of Mississippi as the birthplace of the blues, which reflects the music of the blues branching out around the globe. The park will be the first of its kind in preserving a chapter of America’s blues music history.” – Earl Klatzel
Here are seven initial designs for The Robert Johnson Blues Park, developed by Canadian artist Earl Klatzel (‘Bluesworks by Earl’). Each design has descriptions included to give you an introduction to the concepts. In addition the park will have these features:
– An amphi-theater and stage – concert seating for RJBP concert events
– Vintage highway shields along a blues highway that list every RJ song
– The restored RJ birth home situated within the park
– 1930’s replica perimeter fencing
All designs © copyright Earl Klatzel and used with permission.
See below for more details of Earl Klatzel’s work.
Current Progress – January 1st, 2022
Now you can see what a fantastic project this is and I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions … where will it be located, when will it be built, etc. Well, it’s a case of ‘watch this space’ and over time read about progress right here …
Earl Klatzel is a Canadian artist specialising in Blues Music and its History – oil paintings of real people, places and architecture. Earl’s use of muddy earthtone colour brings reality to an era that was recorded in black and white photos. A window in time that show the people and their surroundings that were the beginning of the Blues.
In his own words …
“Portraits of past and present blues personalities, and the actual landscapes in which they performed, have dominated my portfolio for the past 20 years. My paintings tell a visual story in accurate detail of the real people, real places, and real architecture of the deep south during the golden age of blues music. My paintings produce feelings and emotions through visual connection with the styles, ambiance, and the solitude of the rural south in the early year’s. The many backroad, street corners, and juke joint scenes characterized in porcelain signage, were all extracted from hundreds of historic black and white photographs. My passion to reflect the true atmosphere and spirit through color and details, and revived them with the musical activities that were seldom documented, is the story behind my work. My paintings come from the heart, showing reason for the rich history of this powerful music, and will open a window in time for new generations to come. A visual story of blues music history”.
‘Bluesworks by Earl’ was recently chosen as the sole artist to have his blues history paintings assist Buddy Guy in telling his life long legacy in a new PBS documentary: ‘Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase The Blues Away’. There are 42 of Earl’s paintings used in the making of this film.
Click here to view ‘Bluesworks by Earl’ portfolios and where you will also find further conceptual design images for the Robert Johnson Blues Park.
Thanks to Earl for permission to use the images and text.
Alan White, www.earlyblues.org
Any comments – please email me at email@example.com