Background and Commentary

The piece, originally titled “Cross Road Blues” and written by Delta Blues singer Robert Johnson, was released in 1937. It remained out of print after its initial release until the appearance of a Johnson compilation, The Complete Recordings, in 1990. Because of its historical significance, the piece, about the narrator’s failed attempts to hitch a ride from an intersection as night approached, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Cream’s cover of the song as “Crossroads” in 1968 has become the standard, but dozens of recording artists have either recorded the piece or made it part of their live set list, including The Doors, Bob Dylan, Derek and the Dominoes, Dion, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimi Hendrix, Journey, Ten Years After, Van Halen, Robin Trower, Steve Miller Band, Molly Hatchet, Stephen Stills, Jeff Berlin, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, John Mayer, and Phish. —Wikipedia

Neil in the liner notes to Feedback says Geddy and Alex included the song in the set list of Rush’s earliest years and that his early band, Mumblin’ Sumpthin’, played the song as well.


Robert Johnson

I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please

Standin’ at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Standin’ at the crossroads, risin’ sun goin’ down
Standin’ at the crossroads baby, the risin’ sun goin’ down
I believe to my soul now, po’ Bob is sinkin’ down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin’, Lord, baby I’m sinkin’ down

I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn’t have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress


From Ultimate Guitar.

————– ———– ————– ——————-|
————– ———– ————– ——————-|
————– 4x 7-7-7-7-5-9 2x ————– 2x ——————-|
-7-5-7-7-7—- 0-0-0-0-0-0 -7-5-7-7-7—- ———-14-14-10-|
0———-5-3 ———– 0———-5-3 7-7-5-9-9-12-12-12-|
————– ———– ————– 0-0-0-5-5-10-10-10-|

———————- ————————– —————-|
6/10-8—————- ————————– —————-|
——-9-7-5b-2——- —————–7-5-7-5b- —————-| 2x
—————0-1-2-2 -7-5-7-7-7—–0———- -7-5-7-7-7——|
———————2 0———-5-3———— 0———-5-3–|
———————0 ————————– —————-|


Tab from Ultimate Guitar.

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~ by rvkeeper on February 19, 2011.

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