Robert Johnson test pressing sold on eBay

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by CRadtke, Mar 29, 2017.

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  1. CRadtke

    CRadtke Forum Resident Thread Starter

    An unissued test recording of Robert Johnson’s ‘Traveling Riverside Blues’, captured on 20th June 1937, is up for sale on eBay (EDIT: it was sold for US$ 1,714.00).

    Posted by 78s trader bombastium, the super rare piece of the Robert Johnson catalogue was recorded in Dallas at what would be his last ever session, just over a year before he passed away. The track was not officially released until 1961 and the compilation King of the Delta Blues Singers.

    An alternate version of ‘Traveling Riverside Blues’ was also recorded but considered lost until it made an appearance on the 2011 album The Complete Recordings (The Centennial Collection). It was also famously covered by Led Zeppelin in 1969.

    While details on the listing are relatively sparse, the test pressing appears to have belonged to blues historian Don Kent, whose vast collection of 78s has been used for many blues reissues over the years.

    Rare Robert Johnson 78rpm test pressing up for sale on eBay

  2. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    If that's the real deal, someone got a bargain.
    Matthew Tate and CRadtke like this.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Forum Resident

    It's not the real deal. It's a pressing made in the 1960s or something. This is not a 1930s original test pressing.
    mpayan and signothetimes53 like this.
  4. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

    A ballpoint pen and a Sharpie in 1937?
    Who knew?
  5. showtaper

    showtaper Concert Hoarding Bastard

    Whew! I thought my collection just took a big hit in value.....:D
    sandmountainslim1 likes this.
  6. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Hearing In Stereo Since 1959

    Salem, MA
    We don't know whether the writing on the label was added later, though. I haven't seen the listing. Is there evidence that it was a test pressing from 1937? 78rpms were still being produced through the 1950s, so could it have been pressed then, even though the recording was originally done in 1937?
  7. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Probably pre-1960 if it's a 78, but I agree that it isn't from '37, and possibly not even a legit test pressing, but an early bootleg.

    I have in my collection a similarly mysterious King Pleasure 78 with a handwritten white label, with an undocumented, unissued track on the B side!
  8. kozy814

    kozy814 Forum Resident

    This is more like what I expect for an authentic test pressing
  9. signothetimes53

    signothetimes53 Forum Resident

    There has been a lot of discussion in blues groups about this test pressing auction, and no serious collector believes it dates to 1937. Lots of these test pressings indeed were made in the 1960s.

    However, it is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If someone went into the auction with their eyes wide open, understood it to be a 1960s piece, and given the marketability of anything 'Robert Johnson', decided to pay $1,700 for it, then at that moment in time, it's worth $1,700.
    CRadtke and marcb like this.
  10. signothetimes53

    signothetimes53 Forum Resident

    If it genuinely came from the late Don Kent's collection, then it would not be a bootleg. He knew what he was doing.
    McLover likes this.
  11. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Does the handwritten matrix on the label match any commercial release?
  12. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    I agreed that it might not be, but how do you know? I mean, how do you know for sure?
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