Isolated in the hills of Northern Mississippi, the churning, pulsing, driving, hypnotic, blues played by the local bluesmen date back to the origin of the genre. Rougher, simpler, and more intense, the ethereal coupling of guitar and voice create an aura that harks back to another time and place and R. L. is a master of the style.
Nominated for a W. C. Handy Award in the "Best Re-Issue Album of 1998" category, "Acoustic Stories" was recorded live, with no overdubs, in the Microsound Studios February, 1988 in New York City. R.L. Burnside and harp player, John Neremberg, had just played two nights in Manhattan during a bitter cold week and had brought some of the Northern Mississippi hill country heat with them into the studio. They recorded a few of R. L.ís standards, covered several John Lee Hooker tunes, and played a couple of songs not found recorded on any other of R.L.ís CDís, including a splendid down-home tall tale about the "Monkey in the Pool Room." The sound quality is excellent and R.L.ís guitar and vocals are played with his usual authority. Although I would have preferred the harmonica to have been played with more of a rhythmic, comping style, driving along with the music, rather than the call and response style which follows the music and appears to have been the modus operandi for the set. Thankfully the producer mixed it far enough back in the mix to make it reasonably unobtrusive.
The highlights of the CD are "Miss Glory B," and the previously unrecorded Burnside versions of "Kindhearted Woman Blues," "Meet Me In the Bottom" and "Hobo Blues." The inclusion of which makes this CD essential for all serious collectors of R.L.ís music.
M.C. Records, P.O. Box 1788, Huntington Station, NY 11746
Phone and Fax: 516.754.8725
Web Page: www.thebluesjoint.com/mcroots
This review is copyright © 1999 by Stephen T. Davidson, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.