ROBERT JOHNSON Vocalion 3416 Kind Hearted Woman Blues Take 2 Terraplane Blues 78
78 rpm Single
Robert Johnson - "Kind Hearted Woman Blues"
Rare Take 2 version (matrix no. 2)
1937 First Issue
Black and Gold Vocalion label
This is the first record ever recorded
by the legendary blues pioneer
Vocal Blues with Acoustic Guitar Accompany.
Recorded in 1936
Released in 1937
Less than five copies of this Take 2 version
of this rare record are known to exist.
The "Take 2" version of "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" is a much more animated version than the "Take 1" version. I finally listened to it. The music and emotion literally explodes off the speakers.
New information 7/27/2019 730pm PST
***Since there is virtually no detailed information on the the Internet comparing the two different versions of Robert Johnson’s first 78 rpm single release, I have decided to write a general article on the subject and post it after the condition descriptions of both sides of this record. Most of the detailed information about this record I have learned from an associate, John Tefteller. John is probably the worlds’ leading expert on the subject of 1930s blues records. John has focused on collecting and learning about these records for the past 40 years.
By way of introduction my name is Christopher Chatman. I have run an on again off again record business named Beyond Records since 1977. In the 1990s I wrote several articles that were published in a few 1990s Goldmine LP and 45 rpm price guides on the subjects of acetates, test pressings and RIAA and Non-RIAA Gold Record Awards.
CONDITION DESCRIPTIONS OF RECORD
Each side of the record has now been graded separately.
(according to VGM grading system)
"Kind Hearted Woman Blues" V+
"Terraplane Blues" G+
There is a small 1/2 inch hairline edge crack.
Additional audio notes:
This record has NOT been cleaned.
At the request of an interested party I have played most of both sides of this record. I say "most" because out of caution, I skipped over where the crack is.
"Kind Hearted Woman Blues" Grade V+
This song is a personal favorite among a number of famous guitarists. At the beginning of the sound of the song I had an intense emotional response. The sound and song are both fantastic. There are very few pops and clicks that even sound beyond the normal hiss that all 78s have. It sounds as though this side of the record got very little play. This is a personal opinion. I have heard Robert Johnson before but not lately. I now understand why Eric Clapton and everyone else revere this musician
"Terraplane Blues" Grade G+
Back in the late 1930s when this record was first released, the song "Terraplane Blues" was the hit single, the A side, if you will. The "Terraplane" was a very popular car that was manufactured by the Hudson car company from 1932 through 1938. This song got a lot more play by jukeboxes and record buyers at the time and consequently a lot more wear. Nowadays most people prefer "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" thanks to Eric Clapton's and others rave review of the song.
There is an irritating intermittent loud static hiss on "Terraplane Blues" that at times does compete with the music. The surface of this side does not look that dissimilar from the other side. This static hiss is a normal sound resulting most likely from wear from heavy play of this side of the record.
This is an extremely rare, historic and highly desirable 78 rpm record on the Vocalion record label.
I have decided to sell this record
With LOCAL PICKUP due to the small hairline crack.
THE TWO VERSIONS
OF ROBERT JOHNSON’S FIRST RECORD
By Christopher Chatman
(with much material input from blues expert John Tefteller)
The stories and myths concerning the lifestyle of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson are many and varied. However, outside of the acknowledgement of the fact that there are indeed two different versions of the 78 rpm record known as Vocalion 03416 there is virtually nothing detailing, comparing or analyzing the two different takes or the availability of the Take 2 version of Robert Johnson’s first record.
This is, of course about the song “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” This song is much beloved and has been recorded by Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton and dozens of other musicians. In 1937 Vocalion Records released Robert Johnson’s first record, “Kind Hearted Woman Blues b/w Terraplane Blues” It was not only Robert Johnson’s first record, it was the biggest hit record that Robert Johnson would ever have in his lifetime.
The initial release of Vocalion 03416 featured what is now known as the “Take 1” version of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”, a beautiful laconic impressive blues tune written by Robert Johnson that served as the B side to “Terraplane Blues”, also written by Robert Johnson which was the hit song that drove the sales of this record when it was originally released back in 1937. It had a quicker tempo than Take 1 of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”. Another possible reason for the popularity of “Terraplane Blues” was perhaps the popularity of the car, the “Terraplane” which was produced by the Hudson Car Company from 1932-1938.
In any event the record sold so well that Vocalion was forced to repress Vocalion 03416 to satisfy popular demand. And here is the key moment in our story. In order to repress the record, Vocalion had to reuse the metal masters for both sides of the record, but a mistake was made, and instead of using the master for Take 1 of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”, Vocalion mistakenly used an alternate metal master for a different take of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” This alternate metal master is what is known now known as “Take 2” of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”
John Tefteller says that “Take 2” is a better take of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” than “Take One” I have to admit that my opinion is the same as John’s, but amplified by a factor of ten. To me the “Take 2” version of Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” sounds almost like a completely different song than the “Take 1” version. The tempo of the song is much faster, the recording level is probably louder and the guitar work and vocalizations of Robert Johnson are far more emotionally engaged than those on “Take 1” When I listened to the Take 2 version of “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” on the original 78 rpm record, Johnson’s voice and guitar literally exploded out of the speakers and immediately burrowed into the soft tissues of my brain, but in a good way. Johnson shouts and hits high notes that made me immediately laugh out loud. I now totally understand the passion that pre-war Blues collectors have for the acquisition of original 1930s 78 rpm records.
Anyway at some point probably early in the quality control procedures of Vocalion Records or very early in the record distribution process the mistake was noticed and corrected.
The “Take 2” variation of Vocalion 03416 can be identified by a singular “2-” impressed in the dead wax on the “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” side of the record along with the master number “SA2580”
According to Tefteller, of the approximately fifty known copies of Vocalion 03416 that are known to still exist, approximately five or fewer of them are the “Take 2” version. This fact makes the “Take 2” variation of Vocalion 03416 far rarer than even a stereo first state Beatles “Yesterday and Today” butcher cover. In coin collecting, Vocalion 03416 would be considered a rare error coin of a highly collectible United States gold coin that would be extremely desirable in almost any condition.
In the year 2013 a VG+/EX condition copy of the 78 rpm record Vocalion 03416 “Kind Hearted Woman Blues b/w Terraplane Blues” sold for 12,100.00 USD. There is no existing documentation concerning this sale that indicates whether this prime example of Vocalion 03416 was a Take 1 or a Take 2. Again, according to Tefteller, the value of a Take 2 variation of Vocalion 03416 is approximately twice that of a Take 1 variation in similar condition.
One thing is certain, for a blues music aficionado, the experience of hearing the original Vocalion 03416 Take 2 version of Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” at 78 rpm is emotionally beyond measure.