Working on three day old wine and other assorted variables laying around the house on this day, I listened intently to RL Burnside prescribe my disease in the song " I am a nothing man," and I have to admit it was scary getting that close to the Blues. RL has shot a man, and done his time, and he sings the Blues just a little better (tongue deeply stuck in cheek) than the early Stones on their varied assortment of amphetamine-type-pleasures… and the wine kicks in, and the song takes off like a recurring nightmare of a piano rail, and a guitar jumping off the page in a machine-gun like precision drill squad, you mad yet, oh no, is there something on the stove, that hurts so good. And he keeps on coming at you making well well well seem almost Disney-land happy, and the banjo plays, "got no business here no how," says RL.
"My eyes keep me in trouble," a David Wilcox favorite, coupled with the Kingston bar scene staple, "Chain of Fools," seem like risky choices, but he gives them new fresh 911 intensity. This is a good traveling album, and keeps you going, moving in whatever direction you go. Time to put the cork on this review, you say, read on.
"Got Messed Up," you might have guessed is my favorite riff on the album, with its blend of haunting harp, crisp guitars, and awesome scratching by DJ Swampy. It is definitely radio-friendly. As if, as if anyone in radio land is really listening.
One of the few Mississippi Blues men to gain a wrung up the ladder of the food chain in the music industry, you can safely believe that this is without a doubt the most important Blues album to find its way to the kitchen tables of the world this year.
When he landed in Kingston at the Baby Grand about three years ago the first thing I did was look at the balance in my checking account. The second thing I did was buy nine tickets and give them to my eight best friends, many of whom couldn't quite comprehend what they were seeing. Some imbibed enough to truly appreciate the gentleman who closed every song with his own anthem, "well, well, well." And who offered after seemingly drinking a beer per song himself, to, "drink Canada dry, well, well, well."
No doubt, this is Mississippi Delta Blues at its finest. But RL has been fortunate to have captured the right ears and hearts, making albums recently with Beck producer Tom Rothrock, and formulating a rock influence with the destitute Jon Spencer, and now has just opened up his own mind to the hip hop and funk world that influences this current outing. He isn't actually influenced by these other genres. They have just come on in to his kitchen. Check out the Robert Palmer (one of the world's foremost Blues and rock critics, recently deceased) produced Deep Blues at your library or Classic Video store to get a feel for the roots of whence this man comes.
73 years of hard times are eviscerated onto the floor and kicked out the door, grappled with by the mangy dog and buried by the little children under the front porch. You get to appreciate this with one small purchase of "Wish I Was In Heaven," at your local Turk's record and antique store, or Zap, across the street, ok.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Danny Murray, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.