Scott Ainslie on NPR-Radio Diaries: Robert Johnson & Pablo Casals!

“A Guitar, A Cello, and The Day That Changed Music” (Radio Diaries)

November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men – an ocean and more apart – sat before a microphone and began to play. One was Pablo Casals – a cello prodigy who had performed for the Queen of Spain. The other was the soon-to-be Delta Blues legend and guitarist Robert Johnson – a regular in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta.

On this day, three-quarters of a century ago, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson both made recordings that would change the course of music history.

Blues singer,guitarist, and historian Scott Ainslie, along with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Delta Blues musician David Honeyboy Edwards, and cellist Bernard Greenhouse talk with Radio Diaries’ Joe Richman about this one day, its recordings, and what followed from this remarkable coincidence.

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