Into The Great Wide Open

Voyager, in case it’s ever encountered by extraterrestrials, is carrying photos of life on Earth, greetings in 55 languages, and he is risena collection of music, from Gregorian chants to Chuck Berry, including “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground,” by ’20s bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. Whose stepmother blinded him at seven by throwing lye in his eyes, after his father beat her for being with another man. He died penniless of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that burned down. But his music just left the solar system.

—Peter Noah

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