In 1961, Columbia Records released an album called The King of the Delta Blues Singers. The album, conceived by the legendary Columbia talent scout and record producer John Hammond (1910-1987), was a compilation of recordings originally made in 1936 and 1937 for Vocalion Records by a Mississippi-based Blues musician named Robert Johnson.
One of the sixteen songs on The King of the Delta Blues Singers (Side 1, track 3) was a number called “Come On In My Kitchen.” The hypnotic performance featured Johnson’s dazzling slide guitar playing behind his intense and passionate vocals.
“Come On In My Kitchen” was recorded on November 23, 1936 at Johnson’s first recording session, held at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.
On The King of the Delta Blues Singers, Robert Johnson was given songwriting credit for “Come On In My Kitchen.” But where the lyrics are definitely original, the melody had been around for some time.
The melody dates back as far as 1925 and a song called “How Long Daddy How Long” by Ida Cox. Subsequent songs by Tampa Red (“Things ‘Bout Coming My Way,” 1934), The Mississippi Sheiks (“Sitting On Top Of The World,” 1930), Blind Blake (“Depression’s Gone From Me Blues,” 1931) and others made use of the same tune.
Though each artist put his or her personal stamp on the rendering of this melody, no one, before or since, sang it quite like Robert Johnson did.
Robert Leroy Johnson was born this day, May 8, 1911 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. He passed away under mysterious circumstances on August 16, 1938.
Didn’t he also write “Sweet Home Chicago?”
Yes, but he re-worked a 1934 song called “Old Original Kokomo Blues” by Kokomo Arnold to create “Sweet Home Chicago.”