This was originally recorded by the blues musician Robert Johnson in the 1930s. According to legend, Johnson went to the crossroads and made a deal with the Devil, giving up his soul in exchange for the ability to play the blues. The story originates from an interview with the blues singer Son House, who explained how Johnson went from being a terrible guitar player to a very good one in a very short period of time. Over the years, the story grew into the tale of Johnson selling his soul to the Devil.





Johnson fueled the legend on his track "Me And The Devil Blues," where he sings about his meeting with Satan himself. In that song, Johnson explains that as part of his deal with the Devil, the Prince Of Darkness would harvest all of Robert's "Childrens" at the age of 27, which is exactly how old he was when he died in 1938. A spooky correlation is the number of music stars who have died at age 27. Some members of the "27 Club" include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones) and Kurt Cobain. (Thanks to music historians Dwight Rounds and Ed Parker for their help with this.)



Cream's version is a compilation of parts of two Johnson songs: "Crossroads Blues" and "Traveling Riverside Blues."





Lyrics


I went down to the crossroads

Fell down on my knees

Down to the crossroads

Fell down on my knees

Asked the Lord above for mercy

"Save me, if you please"


I went down to the crossroads

Tried to flag a ride

Down to the crossroads

Tried to flag a ride

Nobody seemed to know me

Everybody passed me by


Well, I'm going down to Rosedale

Take my rider by my side

Going down to Rosedale

Take my rider by my side

You can still barrelhouse, baby

On the riverside


Going down to Rosedale

Take my rider by my side

Going down to Rosedale

Take my rider by my side

You can still barrelhouse, baby

On the riverside


You can run, you can run

Tell my friend boy Willie Brown

Run, you can run

Tell my friend boy Willie Brown

And I'm standing at the crossroads

Believe I'm sinking down