Big Road Blues was one of the most influential recordings of early Mississippi blues, a song many bluesmen learned either from the record or from seeing Crystal Springs blues legend Tommy Johnson in person. ‘I ain’t goin’ down that big road by myself’ became a classic blues line, sometimes changed to ‘dark road’ or even ‘road of love’ by other singers. Big Road Blues was Johnson’s first record, and although he was not the first Mississippi blues artist to record, he was in the studio before Charley Patton, Son House, and Robert Johnson were, and his records’ success established him as the first big name recording artist in Mississippi blues.

Tommy Johnson, vocal and guitar; Charlie McCoy, second guitar. Recorded February 3, 1928, Memphis. Released as Victor V21279.

Discographical details from Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943.

— Jim O’Neal