They had travelled from Mississippi to Texas, the young black man with a guitar and the older, white buisness man. Years later, people along their route would still remember this unusual sight.
The business man was Ernie Oertle, a talent scout who covered the Southern region of the country for ARC Records. H.C.Speir, a Jackson, Mississippi-based record store owner and successful talent scout, had first auditioned the young Blues musician and passed his name on to Oertle. Oertle liked what he heard in the test recording that Speir had made and got in touch with the young man, inviting him to go with him to San Antonio for a recording session.
At the Gunter Hotel, A& R man Don Law and recording engineer Art Satherley had set up a make shift recording studio in two adjoining rooms. They had a machine that recorded directly onto aluminum disks, with about three minutes of recording time per side.
At today’s session, the young Blues singer/guitarist/songwriter recorded eight songs: “Terraplane Blues,” “Come On In My Kitchen,” “Kind Hearted Woman Blues,” “When You Got a Good Friend,” “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Phonograph Blues.”
The young Blues musician recorded at the Gunter again on November 26 and 27.
“Terraplane Blues” b/w “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” were released on the Vocalion label in March of 1937. The 78-rpm record sold well enough for another recording session to be booked and the young Blues musician recorded again, this time in Dallas, Texas, on June 19 & 20, 1937.
The young Blues musician recorded a total of 29 songs or sides in his recording career.
But when you look at the list of songs recorded at his first session, on this day, November 23, in 1936, Robert Johnson would still be considered the King of the Delta Blues Singers.