Learn How to Play Crossroads on Guitar * Eric Clapton * Cream

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In this guitar tutorial, you will learn how to play Crossroads on guitar.  This is Eric Clapton’s version of the song (originally performed by Robert Johnston).

How to Play Crossroads on Guitar

If you’re looking for a complete video lesson of How to Play Crossroads, professionally taught by a pro session player, click here.

Crossroads Song Facts from Wikipedia

Crossroads is the more commonly known title of the song Cross Road Blues.  It’s a blues song composed and recorded in 1936 by American blues musician Robert Johnson. It is a solo performance in the Delta blues-style with Johnson’s vocal accompanied by his acoustic slide guitar. The song has become part of the Robert Johnson mythology as referring to the place where he supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents.

The song opens with the protagonist at an intersection kneeling in despair to beg forgiveness.  The second section tells of his failed attempts to hitch a ride as night approaches:

Standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride (2×)
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by
Standin’ at the crossroad, risin’ sun goin’ down (2×)
I believe to my soul now, po’ Bob is sinkin’ down

In the last two sections, Johnson expresses apprehension at being stranded without a “sweet woman that love [sic] and feel my care” and asks that his friend Willie Brown be advised of his predicament.

According to historian Leon Litwack, in the 1936 rural South, blacks had good reason to be afraid of being caught alone at night in an unfamiliar place—trumped up vagrancy charges and even lynchings still took place. Others suggest that the song is also about a deeper and more personal loneliness with the imagery of the singer falling to his knees and the absence of a “sweet woman”. The song has been used to perpetuate the myth of Johnson selling his soul to the devil for his musical ability, although nothing in the actual lyrics deals with a Faustian bargain. How much Johnson himself contributed to this myth is debated, although many agree “the ‘devil angle’ made for good marketing”.


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