July 03, 2008

U.S. Blues

I found out about R. L. Burnside the wrong way around ... I'd read his name in articles about blues music but never listened to him.

Then I acquired some recordings by the North Mississippi Allstars after hearing a little piece by them on NPR. They did some songs on these recordings that are closely associated with Burnside. I'm dodging questions of authorship: did Burnside write these songs? I don't know. If I wanted to study something, I'd study a spreadsheet or a cookbook. I'm talking about music here.

So then I downloaded two Burnside recordings (more or less Burnside recordings) from a free trial of emusic a while back, and they were ... interesting. Not necessarily representative of his talent, I don't think ... A Ass Pocket of Whiskey was recorded with what one review calls a "punk-bred blues reconstructionist trio called the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion." It's more than listenable, but it's kind of idiosyncratic. A Bothered Mind is a similarly odd collection of collaborations (using the term generously I think), some of which are pretty engaging. Check out "Stole My Check" if you can, but not at work.

Anyhow, you can find him all over Youtube, but start with this one below. The look on his face is great, and I love the guitar at about a minute and half, when he lets it ring out a little.

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