By day, James Olin Burns, 56, runs his barbecue stand on Chicago's West Side. When the sun goes down, however, it's blues time, and he's off to his regular gig at Smokedaddy. It is there that guitarist/singer/harmonica player Burns delivers his smooth, soul-inflected brand of down-home blues.
As a young man growing up in Dublin, Miss., Burns, younger brother of Eddie Burns, sang in various vocal harmony groups on Chicago's West Side and his brother-in-law was the late Chicago blues guitarist Eddie Taylor. He even waxed a few 45s with his colleagues and as a bandleader over the years. Burns, however, married early and spent much of his adult life raising his family, performing only sporadically. Now, his children grown, Burns is making his music a priority. His reappearance on the Chicago blues scene in the early 1990s was nothing less than a blessing to fans of West Side blues.
The 14-track "Night Time Again" is a worthy follow-up to 1996's "Leaving Here Walking," and after one listen it's easy to tell that Burns was way past ready to record. There is a little Muddy Waters, some Howlin' Wolf, a splash of Nappy Brown and Eddie Taylor and, of course, a hint of his brother Eddie all present here.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.