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Check out www.Blindwilliejohnsonfund.com and help us get this man the a memorial in the cemetery where he is buried.

A brief history:

Blind Willie Johnson was born in Independence, near Brenham, Texas in 1897. When Johnson was only three or four, his mother died. It is unknown for sure how Johnson became blind but according to Angeline Johnson (his last wife), it was due to his stepmother throwing lye water into his face before the age of 10. Johnson would make money by playing and singing on the streets of several Texas cities. Johnson recorded 30 songs over a period of three years for Columbia records from 1927-1930, many with his first wife Willie B. Harris. His records sold well but as the depression hit, the music industry was struck hard and Johnson would never record again. In the last ten years or so of his life, Johnson lived with his wife Angeline in Beaumont, TX . He continued to sing and operated a House of Prayer (also their residence) at 1440 Forrest. He died in 1945 from pneumonia after sleeping on wet bedclothes in the ruins of his burned home.

Johnson's influence has had a tremendous impact on many musicians and popular music today. Some of the artists that have been affected by Johnson include Led Zeppelin ("Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed", "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine"), Eric Clapton, Ralph Stanley, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and many, many more. Ry Cooder described Johnson's "Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground," as "the most soulful, transcendent piece in all American music." The Austin American Statesmen in 2003 quoted Jack White of the White Stripes as telling a sold-out audience at Stubb's in Austin, "It's good to be in Texas, the home of Blind Willie Johnson."
Johnson's "Dark was the Night..." was also included on the Voyager Golden Record (launched into space in 1977) alongside Bach, Mozart, Chuck Berry and others to portray the diversity and culture of life on Earth, should any intelligent life form find it.

Thanks,
Shane
 
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