Robert Johnson recordings (partially lost recordings of blues singer; late 1930s)
Robert Johnson is a legendary blues guitarist that helped lay many of the roots for rock music in the coming decades. Johnson's life is shrouded in mystery. He is rumored to sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his skills. He was among the first of many influential musicians to die at the age of 27, being an early member of what many refer to as the "27 Club".
Johnson was recorded only twice during his lifetime. Alan Lomax, a man who was searching for talented musical acts to record, discovered Johnson and recorded him in a hotel room for a couple thousand dollars in 1937. Johnson then disappeared for several months before returning to record for Lomax in 1938. He died a few months later before he could record any more tracks. Lomax circulated around a few single records of some of Johnson's songs.
Originally, it was thought that about 29 songs, with some alternate takes, were all that was recorded. All of the tracks combined totaled to 41 recordings. In the 60s, King Of Delta Blues Singers Volumes I and II was released. They were thought to be the complete collections until 1989 when a few alternate takes were discovered in a vault. In 1990, The Complete Recordings was released and is, to this day, the most complete collection of Johnson's recordings. For years, it was thought that all of Johnson's recordings were accounted for.
Then, in the 2000s, it was revealed by scholar Tom Graves that according to some paperwork done by Lomax in the 30s, there were a whopping 59 recordings total of Johnson's blues songs. It is unknown what happened to the remaining 18 recordings, but it is entirely possible that Lomax may have issued out some of the missing tracks as single records over the years. Unless the original recordings still exist, this may be the only chance any of these tracks have of surfacing.