First Recordings CD, Import
Today, at age 77, this popular North Mississippi singer-guitarist is a master of dirty juke-joint blues. But Burnside was a farm hand when these late 60s recordings captured him developing his staples "Goin Down South," "Jumper On the Line," "Poor Black Mattie," and "Long Haired Doney"--and his playing style--in bare-boned acoustic form. Burnside practically cries over the roiling John Lee Hooker-influenced guitar lines of the heartbroken "Like a Bird Without a Feather," which hes never again recorded, winning sympathy until he admits that he murdered his lost lover. In "Skinny Woman," covered recently by the North Mississippi Allstars, he offsets the rippling picking style associated with John Hurt by beating his knuckles against his six-strings body. Burnsides slide on "Walkin Blues" favors the low strings until his solo stabs into the high register with keening, measured authority, matching the sweet and dusty tones of his voice, which then possessed a youthful flexibility that wrung all sorts of nuances from these 14 songs. --Ted Drozdowski
This was recorded in R.L.'s living room one night after another explorer was lead down the Mississippi dirt road to the "best bluesman around". The recording has a raw quality but the sound is very good. But the music itself is spectacular. This is the real thing, no doubt about it. No Chicago blues here, this is raw and droning and hypnotic and tuneful. The guitar work is great, and his voice has depth and expression, and there is no heavy production; you are there in the dark muggy Mississippi night, R.L.'s foot thumping on the floorboards.
This discovery will be tough to top, and it's been in my top 5 CD playlist for months.