Were Robert Johnson’s Original 78 RPM Recordings Sped Up?

Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues

Writing the liner notes for the Columbia/Legacy single-CD anthology Robert Johnson: King of the Delta Blueswas a great pleasure, since I’ve loved and admired Johnson’s music since the 1960s. I’ve listened to Robert Johnson so much – along with his contemporaries Son House, Willie Brown, and others – that this music feels ingrained on my soul.

Recently my friend and fellow blogger, JP at http://www.stratoblogster.com/, asked me to weigh in on the controversial theory that Robert Johnson’s 78s were sped up during the recording or mastering process. I don’t believe they are sped up. Here are my top three reasons: