Robert Johnson

Cross Road Blues

Song Review by

One of Robert Johnson’s masterpieces, and one of his most popular songs with other performers, “Cross Road Blues” is a staggering display of poetry with quite masterly guitar playing; indeed, it is the song that contributed to much of the myth of Robert Johnson. The song’s lyrics are amazing – it opens with the definitive “I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees/I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees/Asked the Lord above “Have mercy now save poor Bob if you please””, sung in a haunting, otherworldly voice that almost defies adequate description. The guitar playing too, is complex, yet delicate and immensely tuneful – indeed, it’s been compared to Bach, and you can understand the comparison. “Cross Road Blues” is one of Johnson’s finest songs, it’s lyric is myth-making, and the subject matter has influenced hundreds of blues songs since.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
King of the Delta Blues Singers 1961 Columbia / Legacy 2:32
The Complete Recordings 1990 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:40
Blues Masters, Vol. 8: Mississippi Delta Blues 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:40
The Blues: A Smithsonian Collection of Classic Blues Singers 1993
Various Artists
Smithsonian Records 2:28
The Story of the Blues [Friedman/Fairfax] 1994
Various Artists
Friedman Fairgfax 2:41
Born Under a Bad Sign [Alex] 1995
Various Artists
All Time Blues Classics 1996 Music Memoria 2:40
Southern Country Blues, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Star Sounds
Mojo Workin': Blues for the Next Generation 1997
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:27
Masters 1998 Cleopatra 2:42
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Catfish 2:41
Complete Collection 1998 Prism Entertainment / Prism Leisure 2:43
Delta Blues Legend: Masterworks, Vol. 13 1999 Charly Records 2:41
Steady Rollin' Man 1999 Recall (UK) 2:42
Folk, Gospel & Blues: Will the Circle Be Unbroken 1999
Various Artists
Columbia / Legacy 2:40
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:40
Every Day I Have the Blues [Goldies Box] 2000
Various Artists
Goldies 2:40
Genius of the Blues 2000 Definitive 2:40
As Good As It Gets: Country Blues 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:40
The Country Blues Roots of Eric Clapton 2000
Various Artists
Catfish 2:40
Nothing But the Blues [Import] 2000
Various Artists
Import 2:37
Classic Blues, Vol. 2 [Digimode] 2000
Various Artists
Digimode Entertainment 2:38
Crossrads Blues [Past Perfect] 2000 Past Perfect 2:31
Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:40
American Roots Music [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Palm 2:39
American Roots Music [Highlights] 2001
Various Artists
Palm 2:40
Robert Johnson [Dressed to Kill] 2001 Dressed To Kill 2:40
The Blues [Recording Arts] 2001
Various Artists
Recording Arts 2:40
Roots of Ry Cooder 2002
Various Artists
Catfish 2:40
Blues Twinpack 2002 Dressed To Kill 2:40
Black & Proud 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:41
The Last of the Great Blues Singers 2002 Fabulous 2:40
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: The Best of the Blues 2003
Various Artists
UTV 2:39
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey 2003
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 2:40
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Robert Johnson 2003 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:39
Simply the Blues 2003
Various Artists
Liberty 2:28
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
From Four Till Late 2004 Snapper 2:40
A Proper Introduction to Robert Johnson: Cross Road Blues 2004 Proper Sales & Dist. 2:34
Good Mornin' Blues 2004
Various Artists
ASV / Living Era 2:30
The Best of Robert Johnson: Traveling Riverside Blues 2004 Blues Forever 2:43
Guitar & Bass 2004 Sony Music Distribution 2:39
Hellhounds on Their Trail: A History of Blues Guitar 1924-2001 [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Indigo 2:38
Beginner's Guide to the Blues 2005
Various Artists
Demon Records / Nascente 2:40
Up Jumped the Devil 2005 Pazzazz 2:40
Crossroad Blues [Pazzazz] 2005 Pazzazz 2:40
Standin' at the Crossroads 2006 BMG Special Products / Sony Music Distribution 2:32
The High Price of Soul 2007 Primo Records 2:43
Rough Guide to the Blues 2007
Various Artists
World Music Network 2:37
Blues: Definitive Collection 2009
Various Artists
Music Brokers 2:39
Bob Dylan Cover to Cover: The Originals 2010
Various Artists
Mischief / Music Melon 2:40
The Complete Recordings: The Centennial Collection 2011 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:43
Pure... Blues 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:40
American Epic: The Collection 2017
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Legacy / Sony Music 2:32
Blues Gold
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Music 2:40
No Image Document
Nothing But the Blues: Cross Road Blues History 2:37