Juke Joint Blues, Modern Delta Blues, Delta Blues, Electric Delta Blues, Modern Electric Blues are just a few ways to describe R.L. Burnside's styles while Raucous, Sleazy, Rambunctious, Fiery, Freewheeling, Rowdy, Reckless, Earthy, Exuberant, Nocturnal best describe his tones. Burnside's latest collection - a compilation from Hightone - encompasses all these elements and then some.
Taught to play guitar by the late Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside has never been known for anything delicate. He plays guitar with a gritty unrehearsed style (as are his vocals)- similar to Elmore James or Hound Dog Taylor - and has influenced such artists as the North Mississippi All-Stars, 20 Miles and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Ironically, he didn't get a recording contract until he was 66 years old as he signed with Fat Possum in 1992. Up until then he was primarily a farmer and fisherman. With the release of Bad Luck City, a live record, R.L. Burnside hung up his fishing rod and began a full-time career in music.
Comprised of both studio and live recordings, No Monkeys on This Train, gathers an extensive selection of earlier Burnside tracks from throughout the 1980s and early '90s including previously unissued songs - a live performance s of "Fireman Ring The Bell" and "Last Night." Some tracks, such as "Stutterin' Boy" and "I Love Mississippi" are nothing more than the bluesman telling amusing stories. Burnside tackles the classic "Rollin' and Tumblin'" with nothing but his amplified guitar and weathered voice.
While No Monkeys on This Train is a comprehensive compilation, it is a bit short, clocking in at just under 45:00 minutes. It would be a good idea to pick up some of R.L. Burnside's Fat Possum discs in addition to this record to get the complete picture.
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