Robert Johnson - "Walkin' Blues" - Speed Adjusted
Delta blues legend Robert Johnson died 80 years ago today at the age of 27 Here is a recording of the classic Walkin Blues

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These are my own best guesses at what I think the actual speed of the recordings should be. To me the slower speeds sound much more natural. Some say they are 20% too fast but that seems unlikely. More likely is they are 10-5% too fast. The key to the whole thing is the vibrato of the voice. I did these all just using my ears and tried to match each song against the other with the constant being the timbral characteristics of his voice and what a natural human vibrato would sound like. Usually when I did this the speed would fall into a natural blues key like A or E, sometimes with a capo on the first fret. Again, these are just my personal opinions and please don't get offended and send me a bunch of musicologist stuff. These are just for fun. These were done in Cubase by resampling so the pitch and the tempo were changed together naturally just like you would slowing down analog tape. Personally, the more I listen to these slowed down versions the more obviously unnatural the CDs sound. But listen and decide for yourself.

Comments

Der Golem : There's no way to measure the blues. You can only feel it, and this feels right

Ethan Metcalf : Hey friend, just want to say thank you for the work you put into producing these! Regardless of what people think—whether these are accurate or not—they sound great and I appreciate the effort you put in.

gary goins : Is there any way I can buy cd's recorded at this speed? The music souns so great!

JH Banks : the released version of this definitely seems impossible to play and sing

B. Olmstead : Sounds great to me, and I've listened to the original for years. Mainly I like how I can *hear everything* as opposed to the more crackly versions I'm used to hearing, but I also notice a difference in pitch too. Thanks for sharing this!

Jeff Bone : This is such an amazing vocal performance. Johnson's best I think...just my opinion though. I've listened to this 7 times in a row it gives me chills! Thanks so much for uploading this.

sunjamrblues : Yep, I agree that slowing it down sounds much better, and more natural. The original recordings are kind of like watching Charlie Chaplin movies - fast, jerky. Thanks for posting this.

David Linton : these sound great to my ears... well done!

Joe Anstett : I used to like Robert Johnson. Now I love him. Thanks for slowing it down.

Stephen Wood : It sounds much better. I tried this by adjusting the speed on a Technics deck.

Solomon Underwood : I have really enjoyed hearing these. Thanks for all the effort you put into doing this!

Juan Martin Reborati : Great job! It's so much real and better sounding! Thanks!

nu385 : Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

technium100 : These sound much more realistic to me. Everything from the tone of the guitar to RJ's voice. I understand he was quite active with the ladies. This slowed recording sure sounds more in line with that, a soothing, soulful voice. I've heard the 20% adjusted recordings as well, I think these are closer. Thanks for these. What a wonderful discovery.

David Kurtz : These are just fantastic! First time RJ's sounded like a real human to me. Bravo & thanks!!

Tomi Grguric : A good indicator is his voice vibrato. It sounds so much more natural.

Ken Conrad : Someone told me about this recently and I dismissed it.. but hearing it.. Holy shit.. gave me goosebumps. Wow. I'm convinced.

Lair of the Mastermind : Really reminds me of Johnny Winter at this speed

Techno Demic : Speed adjustment inflates Tommy's cojones. Great thinking. Carries him into the foreground and makes him even more special, human, and macho.

Matthew Cannata : This is the best thing ever. You're a great person to have done this; would you please adjust crossroads?

Mix Mechanical : sounds great

DETHKEPR lrae : Makes me think of Hendrix like exactly give him an electric guitar tape delay fuzz pedal BAM

luiz guilherme moreira sales : Esse cantor ele é espetacular fora do normal

Gian Jesus : amazing these sound so right! i mean he sound right always but these is much more natural to me

hellochicago2 : Just discovered these adjusted versions and they are so right... the first listen was like a lightbulb coming on for me. It always bothered me how I couldn't ever listen to an entire RJ collection before the sound began to grate and drive me nuts. Now I could listen to these natural versions all day. On this track, that beautiful moment when Robert goes to falsetto at 00.52 says it all. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Eilert Vataker : Well!

Marko Nahtigal : 1:37 weeelll... hehehe

Zbigniew Niedzielski : Why nobody sees the possibility of Robert Johnson ordering the change of pitch himself, during the sessions? It is technically possible. Still maybe he did it not in all of the songs…Eric Clapton says that Robert Johnson used every guitar trick known, to enrich his sound. Listening to Robert for decades I hear plastic thumb pick without finger picks in some songs, then all plastic set in some, metal ones still in others, just bare fingers in still some. I hear guitar tuned half step down, guitar tuned half step up, regular tuning, open tunings. I hear capo here and there. And why not TWO guitars for the session? He earned enough to own more than one. And he had friends with guitars… And sometimes people making sessions had instruments with them… So, why not THREE guitars? Metal resonator, a big guitar, a small guitar. And this famous corner load… Or try putting a guitar to an empty wardrobe side for a change… And what about strings? Sometimes you would bet Robert put electric strings on… And try moving your right hand in, for example, Sweet Home Chicago, in such a way that on 1 and 3 it is pretty close to the bridge but on 2 and 4 your hand would be close to the neck… Try it with heavy electric strings and a capo set on the 2nd fret… Whatever. Here we are talking about a genius…

Emil Hokkonen : Devils face right next to him.

pacingBlue : Maybe a little slower even. I still hear some unnaturalness in some high-pitched points. But superb man, there was always something weird about RJ 's originals, it was the speed after all. All his songs should be slowed down, they make way more sense.

Comments Enabled : can you post the entire recordings like this....it sounds like a person.... the other stuff super cool- but this is like a real guy!!!!

Jason Lynn : Oh well, I have just been censored by Blob Tube. Grow up lil culture police, truth is offensive. Thanks to the man/men who had the guts to post the true nature of RJ, Blind Joe Reynolds etc., giving despite asinine controversy the beauty of bluesmen NOT singing as CASTRATOS.

Jason Lynn : "Exploding Noema! "---in the language of the philosophy of phenomenonology whrn what you THOUGHT AND SAW was a twig, then it gets up and walks away, your percept/concept blows up and blows your mind; when the transgressor is a bug posing as a stick in all Darwinian success, well, it is sweaty inconvenience: but when it is a genius excorcising 3 or 4 generations of blues devotees, including fanatical, dogmatical babyboomers, it is war. Look, folks, the facts are plain. THIS IS THE CORRECT SPEED. Robert Johnson, Son House, etc., were NOT CASTRATOS, these is the beautiful, natural negro baritones that were dupliciously sped up by greed-sodden record company-harlots and marketeers who found tve slow tempo of especially Delta Blues "too depressing, a downer, " blah blah blobitude. So they pep'd it up, sl8med in the shallow, cutesy cute 20s tempos. Why so many now elderly fanatics ignore the obvious testifies to the neurosis of nostalgia, how people cannot have their precious revised for truth. We all should be grateful to those persons--like this blues-lover-- who are adjusting the speed to natural tone, rather than torrents of rancor for the "offense" evidently of adjusting some people's young adulthood. Thanks, sir, for delivering some of the greatest music ever made at finally its true nature.

ZiaCanine : I think this sounds more natural to be sure. However, playing the Devil's Advocate (<-- see what I did there?) Johnson's recordings were done on different days over 2 year's time AND in 2 different locations (Dallas/San Antonio).  It seems to me the original releases of all his recordings sound quite similar in speed and effect. I wouldn't know if the exact same equipment would have been used in each recording session however, it seems that it would be likely NOT the case. Don Law was the main man on each set of recording sessions but I guess the true answer is lost to history. I DO like this adjusted speed and how it sounds. Very intriguing argument.