Contributed by: Don Swancy
Willie Brown was not just a mythical character of the blues. Willie Brown was a delta blues player, a musical and traveling partner of the King of the delta Blues, Charley Patton. Patton was one of the '1800 boys' at whose feet future greats like Robert Johnson first studied the blues. In his song, 'Crossroads', it is this Willie Brown who Robert Johnson refers to several times. When Robert wrote Crossroads, Charley Patton and Willie Brown were already delta blues legends.
Willie Brown, was a guitar player, contrary to his portrayal in the movie crossroads. He died of heart disease in Tunica, Mississippi in 1952, at the age of 52.
Contributed by: Mike Zempter
The Crossroads was always a place of great evil, from ancient times on. I can't remember why. It forms an X. X marks the spot, but you can't tell why! Cream's Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker both chose 'Crossroads' as their favorite song that the group recorded. (I disagree)
Willie Brown's deal with the Devil is alledgedly based on the rumor that actual bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil to have fame and success. Robert Johnson's songs were dark and mysterious, and so was his death...
Contributed by: Mahlon Marr
Apparently Robert Johnson never claimed to have sold his soul to the devil, even though he probably felt he had a working relationship with him. But Tommy Johnson (no relation), whom Robert knew, did. Tommy is the black guitar player picked up by the fugatives at the crossroads in "O Brother Where Art Thou".
Contributed by: John Crouch
Oh dear, sad blues muso stuff- Willie Brown did exist, but was a guitarist rather than a harp player. He was allegedly known for his fondness for anything liquid containing alchohol, a habit which I believe killed him in the 30's. And he was mates with Robert Johnson, with whom he hoboed on the railway, thus the line in the song "Tell my friend, boy, Willie Brown." These are vaguely remembered 'facts' from Robert Palmer's (the effeminate American blues expert, not the Brit singer) book, ""Deep Blues
I always felt that his character name 'Martone' was in fact a musicians pun on the desire for 'more tone' - a little abstract maybe....
Legends or not, Crossroads only grossed $5.839 million...