Store owner finds rare Robert Johnson record

PITTSBURGH — A record store owner has found what he calls “the holy grail of 78s” in a box of old albums he picked up for $50.

Jerry Weber said he discovered a copy of the second song ever recorded by Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson, “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” put to disc two years before Johnson’s mysterious death in 1938 at age 27.

The rarity, whose value Weber pegged at $6,000 to $12,000, was tucked in a collection of otherwise worthless, water-damaged old platters that sat in a hallway at Jerry’s Records for days.

“I saw one 30 years ago that was broke,” Weber told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “and I saw one that a friend of mine found and let me hold before he sold it. It’s the most expensive record I’ve ever found, and it’s in real nice shape.”

Johnson was an itinerant singer and guitarist from Hazlehurst, Miss., whose landmark recordings would influence a generation of rock ‘n’ roll icons, including Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. In popular legend, Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a Mississippi Delta crossroads in return for an extraordinary ability to sing and play the blues.

Weber said the “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” record he found is in good shape.

Collector John Tefteller, who specializes in rare blues and jazz records, estimates there are perhaps 15 to 30 copies of the record in existence in that condition.

“There’s not a huge market for something like that,” he said. “Yes, it’s rare, but you could count on your hands and toes the number of people who would buy it for a few thousand dollars.”

Weber doesn’t plan to sell it, at least not right away. His son, Willie Weber, will play it for customers at 2 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the year at his adjacent record store.

More in Local News

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

County under flood watch; back-to-back storms promise heavy rain

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Monday for… Continue reading

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

Cleaning up after other people’s messes

Snohomish County program recycles derelict RVs abandoned on roadsides and in homeless encampments.

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Gingerbread house construction Gingerbread house workshops for families will be held… Continue reading

Most Read