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Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Johnson's guitar work features an early use of a boogie rhythm pattern, which is seen as a major innovation, as well as a repeating triplets figure.
In , Elmore James recorded the song as "Dust My Broom" and "made it the classic as we know it", according to blues historian Gerard Herzhaft. The song has become a blues standard , with numerous renditions by a variety of musicians. Elements of "Dust My Broom" have been traced back to several earlier blues songs. Blues researcher-writer Edward Komara has suggested that Johnson may have begun developing his version as early as Carl's Blues": .
Johnson's "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" combines lyrics, also identified as " floating verses ",  from the earlier songs and adds two new verses of his own. Music historian Elijah Wald calls the result "a more cohesive lyric than either of the Arnold pieces [and] concentrates on the theme of traveling, and being away from the girl he loves". I'm putting you down, I won't be back no more".
The last verse shows Johnson's unusual use of geographical references. These are taken from topical events, including the Second Italo-Ethiopian War , the Japanese invasion of Manchuria , and the creation of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The last stanza of the song raises the stakes, exploding into a fantastic geography—the singer's voice trails a bit behind the guitar line here, as if burdened by the imaginative leap involved Mixed with all the bitterness, after all, is a geographic expansiveness that suddenly stretches the thirty miles of Arkansas backroads into a trip around the world.
As with most of his recordings, it appears that a second take of the song was recorded and assigned a reference number. Johnson recorded the song as an upbeat boogie shuffle.
Unlike some of the earlier songs that influenced Johnson, "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" does not feature a bottleneck or slide guitar. The boogie bass line, adapted for guitar from the piano boogie style, is one of Johnson's major innovations.
The song also features Johnson's use of a repeating guitar figure consisting of fast high-note triplets. As one of three Johnson songs to become early blues standards,  Wald questions why "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" was not included on the first reissue of his recordings, the King of the Delta Blues Singers album released by Columbia in II ,  in , on The Complete Recordings box set,  and on several compilation albums.
However, his music career was interrupted by a stint in the U. Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he again joined up with Williamson, who regularly performed on radio. In January , Williamson was offered the opportunity to record some songs for Trumpet Records , where, by one account, he was accompanied by James. To record his song, Elmore James used Robert Johnson's first four verses and concluded with one similar to that found in Arthur Crudup's recording:.
James' song also followed Johnson's melody, key, and tempo, but adhered more closely to the chord changes of a typical twelve-bar blues. However, according to musicologist Robert Palmer , he "transformed what had been a brisk country blues into a rocking, heavily amplified shuffle".
Compared to Johnson guitar work, Gioia describes them as "more insistent, firing out a machine-gun triplet beat that would become a defining sound of the early rockers". Elmore James never recorded any more of his own material for Trumpet, although he later appeared as a sideman. Both songs listed the performer as "Elmo James", [c] although James does not perform with Thomas. Regional record charts show that "Dust My Broom" gradually gained popularity in different parts of the U.
The success of the single by the relatively small Trumpet Records led other record companies to pursue James in the hope of landing his follow-up singles.
A later session in Chicago produced "I Believe", a "Dust My Broom" knockoff, that became a number nine charting single and the first issued on the new Modern subsidiary Meteor Records in Being able to score two hits within a year with essentially the same song by the same artist prompted record companies to exploit it as much as possible.
Thus, many re-workings of "Dust My Broom" with small variations were recorded by James for different record labels during his career. Library of Congress ' National Recording Registry , which commented "James is known to have tinkered with his guitar pickups and fans still argue about how he achieved his signature sound.
Whatever combination of guitar and pickup was used in his slide guitar opening, Elmore James created the most recognizable guitar riff in the history of the blues".
Lockwood ,  the song carried over to the s folk and blues revival and the British rhythm and blues scene.