Friday, December 21, 2012

Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur say...

'On a Clarksdale night, humid and hot, when your bottle and your blues are all that you got, well I didn't wanna do it, but he gave me no choice, I poisoned the whiskey that coated his voice, guitar on the floor and my girl on his lap, so I topped off a bottle, with more than a cap..when you poison men with alcohol, oh, the liquor gets the blame, yeah, and I killed Robert Johnson, just the same..so I hired that coloured boy, to play his guitar blues, to entertain the white folks, and I'd pay him in booze, oh, but it turned sour quickly, when he went for my wife, even Sonny Boy Williamson couldn't save his life, but don't ever knock a bottle out of another man's hand, he got a slow, painful ending under Mississippi land, I ain't saying he deserved it, oh, for crossing the line, but I killed Robert Johnson, with strychnine...So I've kept my mouth shut, awaiting my fate, oh, it's trapped in the history of 1938, and as the men who knew Riobert, all died of old age, my secret grew lonlier, like his music on a stage, I may never tell the public the reason he's dead, yeah, but only the hellhounds can pull this truth from my head, I ain't saying I regret it, after all these years, yeah, but I killed Robert Johnson.'

- Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur ('I Killed Robert Johnson', Bears & Bulls, The Stone Foxes, 2010)

Note: Heart-broken drummer Shannon Koehler adapted a poem that (now former) bassist Ari Vinocur wrote about the legend of Robert Johnson. As the story goes, the classic blues guitarist made a pass at a bartender's wife, and the bartender poisoned him for it. Before you go arresting Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur for a 75-year-old murder, I believe this clever song is written from that bartender's perspective.

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