R. L. Burnside has achieved a cross-over audience bringing in Delta hounds and new, younger punk hipsters who admire his reactive musical formulations. Burnside, firmly rooted with one foot in the rugged north Mississippi hill country, continues to fashion striking contemporary interpretations. Never one to restrict his opportunities or influences, Burnside has become a literal musical guru to a whole new generation of listeners, while never losing his original blues fan base.
In his fifty-some years of absorbing, reinterpreting, and performing, R.L. has never released any live material for fan consumption ... until now! Fat Possum has taken control and this is the delivery of that material. These tracks were recorded in Portland, Oregon; January of 2001 at the Crystal Ballroom. Within those confines, this effort features the backing of Kenny Brown on lead guitar, grandson Cedric Burnside on the drum kit, and R.L. singing and plucking the rhythm axe lines.
R.L.'s recipe finds him using highly repetitive riffs, primal rhythms, and hill country hypnotic-flavoring. Experiencing the live shows, listeners fall into zombie armies that feel the music, and react with fretless displays of liberating spirits. This is the show presented here, complete with crowd interaction, jokes from the stage, and an intimate time with R.L.'s contagion blues. Slow down, sit down, and smell these roses from north Mississippi. You'll hear many cuts from previous studio ventures including the opener "Shake 'Em On Down," "Rollin' And Tumblin'," "Goin' Down South," and "Bad Luck And Trouble". Kick the meter up and jam with the movin' "Jumpers On The Line" or the closing "Snake Drive."
This is how Burnside's blues are to be shared and heard. Live with nothing between performer and audience. No overdubs, no electronic enhancement ... just the real stuff that defies you to sit still. Well worth the wait ... Burnside On Burnside ... is a hit in this book!
Fat Possum Records; P.O. Box 1923; Oxford, Mississippi 38655
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, 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.