Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Release The Hellhounds!
Coming in early May, Dogfish Head's "Hellhound" will be available in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The newly crafted Robert Johnson ale was created, according to Calagione, as a way to "celebrate his artistry and his centennial simultaneously. Johnson's playing was so complex and full that his one guitar sounded like two. His voice and lyrics were as distinct as his guitar playing, and stood out as distinct beyond the other blues musicians of the day. Beyond that you have the legend of Johnson selling his soul to the devil in return for mastery of the guitar. We wanted to make an ale that paid tribute to all that."
"Robert Johnson is an American treasure," said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings, "and his musical legacy and remarkable folklore are well worth celebrating. In this spirit, Sam and Dogfish Head have brewed an appropriately wonderful and delicious tribute to Johnson and his music."
Dogfish Head and its "off-centered ales for off-centered people" were the subject of "A Better Brew," an article in The New Yorker (Nov. 24, 2008) examining the rise of extreme beer. "Beer has lagged well behind wine and organic produce in the ongoing reinvention of American cuisine. Yet the change over the past twenty years has been startling," wrote Burkhard Bilger. "Dogfish is something of a mascot for this unruly movement. In the thirteen years since Calagione founded the brewery, it has gone from being the smallest in the country to the thirty-eighth largest. Calagione makes more beer with at least ten per cent alcohol than any other brewer, and his odd ingredients are often drawn from ancient or obscure beer traditions. It is to Budweiser what a bouillabaisse is to fish stock."
Robert Johnson's alleged contract with Satan brought forth an incandescent guitar technique and a run of 10-inch 78 rpm singles for the Vocalion, Oriole, Conqueror and Perfect labels recorded in San Antonio in 1936 and Dallas in 1937. Those songs have become a cornerstone of 20th century music, and Columbia Records' identity, and will be celebrated on two CENTENNIAL releases from Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
Over the years, Johnson's influence has resounded in the music of Muddy Waters ("32-20 Blues"), Elmore James ("I Believe I'll Dust My Broom"), Junior Parker ("Sweet Home Chicago"), John Hammond Jr. ("Milk Cow's Calf Blues"), the Rolling Stones ("Love In Vain," "Stop Breakin' Down Blues"), John Mayall ("Ramblin' On My Mind"), Cream ("From Four Until Late"), Eric Clapton ("Cross Road Blues"), Johnny Winter ("When You Got a Good Friend"), Paul Butterfield and Bonnie Raitt ("Walkin' Blues"), Fleetwood Mac and ZZ Top ("Hellhound On My Trail"), Led Zeppelin ("Traveling Riverside Blues"), Keb' Mo' ("Preachin' Blues"), Cassandra Wilson ("Come On In My Kitchen"), and countless others. It is by far the most empowering body of work in American history to emerge from one solitary blues figure.