Enigmatic Bluesman Robert Johnson Is Back In 'Afterlife'

New film examines mysteries surrounding the influential musician.

A new film featuring performances of Robert Johnson's material by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb Mo', Honeyboy Edwards, Gov't Mule and many others focuses on Johnson and the relentless fascination with the enigmatic blues musician.

"Hellhounds on My Trail: The Afterlife of Robert Johnson" was directed by Robert Mugge, who also created the reggae documentary "Cool Runnings" and films about zydeco, bluegrass, Mississippi bluesmen, Hawaiian music and other musical subjects.

"Hellhounds" debuted at a Mugge festival in New York this year and makes its West Coast premiere March 27–28 at San Francisco's Roxie Theater. It also will soon be available in VHS and DVD formats, as many of Mugge's works already are, through Winstar TV and Video in New York.

Johnson, who wrote such blues and rock classics as "Love in Vain," "Crossroads," "Ramblin' on My Mind" and "Kind-Hearted Woman," died under mysterious circumstances in 1938.

"Hellhounds" includes excerpts from newly discovered 16 mm film footage and snippets of a debate over whether the footage is, in fact, of Johnson. Other highlights include performances by Johnson's stepson, Robert Lockwood Jr., Johnson contemporaries Edwards and Henry Townsend, as well as Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green, Joe Louis Walker, Tracy Nelson, G. Love & Special Sauce, Rory Block, Sonny Landreth, Roy Rogers and Bob Weir with Rob Wasserman.