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  1. Ain't it strange that Ike Zimmerman was a mentor to Robert Johnson who was a mentor – posthumously – to Bob Dylan, aka Robert Zimmerman. Presumably Ike's surname was a given slave name. If you go back far enough, might the slave "owner" Zimmerman be related to Bob?

    1. No offense but I believe Bob Dylan although at birth is named Robert Zimmerman, is of Jewish descent, and you will not find slave owners in Bob Dylan’s background.

        1. I just heard of Ike Zimmerman through Robert Johnson’s grandson. I had always assumed Robert Johnson songs, like Patton and Leadbelly songs were common songs played by everyone back then. I thought these guys simply got the credit because they recorded them first. Hopefully Ike will get the recognition he writing credit he deserves as history unfolds.
          Thanks for this article.

  2. Your article is startlingly annoying. Claiming to know or be certain about things you weren’t around to see- based on your views and the evidence you’ve compiled. Take the “of course” out of your pathetic attempt of the truth since you obviously don’t know for sure, at all…. you shouldn’t be writing.

    1. It sounds like you believe Robert Johnson actually met the devil at the crossroads, Michael. I’ve written better articles, I admit, but the evidence compiled is the most complete evidence in existence. When I write “of course” it means I’m assuming the reader knows certain facts. Facts are the nearest thing we have for truth. If people like me don’t write about blues history, the early days of the genre will be lost to us forever.

  3. My name is James Smith, Ike simmermon grandson. Everything I read in these articles the majority is true, there are some assumptions, I live with the story passed down to us, I’m not going to come there or debate on what’s real and what’s not because I know more than most out there now, some believe that Robert learn how to play at the crossroads and the devil told him, can you imagine, they rather believe that then believe a real human being as my grandfather talk expand how to play the guitar, which we all know so well in our family, I’m not going to give you a story of how all took place even though I know most, there are some that comment and don’t bleed Ike talk Robert which I know is a lie and my family know is a lie some discredit height as a guitarist for some reason I do not know why, but I finally know the truth we know how it happened and when it happened, all of you out there who do not believe our story, because it is our story, not yours, I’m sorry for you, because it is our story.

    1. I’d love for you to share your story, James. The inside information in my post came from the American blues scholar, Jason Rewalt, who said he spoke to some of your family. But, thanks for your feedback, and if you change your mind about telling us your family’s stories regarding Ike, these pages are always open to you.

    2. Hey James, have I replied to your comment? I’m certain I did, but if not, apologies. Many thanks for your feedback.

    3. Hi James, please help us know the truth. Thank you for coming here to comment. I know you might never read this but just want to say I am so thankful your grandfather is part of our musical history.

  4. I live in Wesson, Mississippi. Beauregard cemetery is very close and my wife and I attend Beauregard Methodist. While attending a funeral in the Beauregard cemetery a church member pointed out a family grave enclosed by a fence. The two graves are raised marble and according to him the only graves like that in the cemetery. He believes that is where Ike and Robert practiced. I can submit a photo of the graves if you would like them.

  5. According to Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, authors of ” Up Jumped The Devil–The Real Life of Robert Johnson “, Isaiah “Ike” Zimmerman was born on April 27, 1898 in Grady, Alabama. This new book, which just became available this month, has an entire chapter dedicated to Ike Zimmerman and his influence on Robert Johnson.

  6. good article but i have some questions in doubt im sure he probably come across Zimmerman. But some things i find strange is he never wrote in any of his songs with Zimmermans name like he did with friend willie brown , . if he sang about the crossroads wondering why he didn’t sing about his time practicing in the graveyard. Also if he lived with him for two years thats a long time son house i recall said he was gone about 6 to 8 months . I am no expert . Only going by what i heard son house say with his own words . I do belieev he played harmonica because honey boy said that . Gee it can be very deep his journey sometimes trying to under stand it

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Hobo. All I can suggest is perhaps RJ intended to write songs about singing in the graveyard but died before getting round it. As for not writing songs with Ike Zimmerman, Ike’s children said RJ passed off Ike’s songs as his own, even writing Dust My Broom to help RJ’s guitar playing. Who knows where the truth lies. Regarding Willie Brown, I know RJ played guitar and harmonica with him before getting Ike’s tuition. This was in 1930 with the audience reaction to RJ poor.

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