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CD Reviews:  Review of Burnside on Burnside by R. L. Burnside

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It's unfortunate that it took the passing of some of the blues greats like John Lee Hooker for R. L. Burnside to finally get his due. Burnside, who is in his mid-70s, has been practicing this brand of Mississippi hill country blues for years largely unnoticed in backwater juke joints and roadside bars. The music is as hard, raw and edgy as the best that the hottest young rock acts can offer, and yet has a familiar blues refrain throughout which builds in crescendo and ties him to the even older masters like Willie Dixon. "Shake 'Em On Down," "Walkin Blues" and " Jumper on the Line" are all fine examples of this raw kind of blues from a man who has obviously lived the kind of life that can make these songs come alive.

The album was recorded live at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, and R. L. has an easy rapport with the audience, joking and telling tales like, "After tonight I'm not gonna drink anymore except when I'm by myself or with somebody." His articulation is not as clear when he's singing, as he mumbles lyrics in a kind of backwater patois, but this is perfectly appropriate for the type of song presented and you ultimately hear things that you should and maybe should not hear as your ears adjust and you enter Burnside's world.

The album consistently ranks in critics' lists of the top 10 blues albums of the year, and should definitely be on your purchase list. Check it and him out before he joins John Lee and Muddy in the great juke joint in the sky.

~Matt Saha : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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