R.L. Burnside – Retro-Active – Rollin’ & Tumblin’ – The King Of The Hill Country Blues


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R.L. Burnside is the father of Mississippi Hill Country Blues - and, together with James 'Son' Thomas, is one of the most outstanding personalities of second generation Country Blues.
This CD contains rare Burnside sessions from the years 1975, 1981 and 1982, which were recorded live on his front porch with both electric and acoustic guitar. It includes 19 of his best-known songs and an interview.
Born in 1926, he had, in fact, first recorded an LP in the 60s, but it was not until the Fat Possum label began recording him in 1992 that he began to attract interest and in time, acclaim. He recorded seven albums for that label, as well as for a number of others.
He was greatly influenced by his neighbour, the great Fred McDowell - as well as the less rural styles of Muddy, Hooker and Lightnin’. His sessions at the juke joint of his friend Junior Kimbrough are legendary - and he kept performing and recording almost up until his death in 2005. He left behind six sons, all in the music business. One can rightly call him a giant of Country Blues.

Track Listing:
1. Fireman Ring The Bell - 3:46   2. Long Haired Doney (Take 1) - 3:35   3. Walkin' Blues - 3:42   4. Poor Black Mattie (Acoustic) (Take 1) - 3:04   5. See My Jumper Hangin' On The Line - 2:49   6. Goin' Down South - 4:22   7. Poor Boy - 3:31   8. Skinny Woman - 2:18   9. Bad Luck - 3:35   10. Poor Black Mattie (Electric) (Take 2) - 3:02   11. 44 Pistols - 3:18   12. See My Jumper Hangin' On The Line - 3:13   13. Rollin' & Tumblin' - 2:58   14. Long Haired Doney (Take 2) - 3:38   15. When My First Wife Left Me (Take 1) - 3:25   16. Poor Black Mattie (Take 3) - 2:56   17. I Be’s Troubled - 3:43   18. When My First Wife Left Me (Take 2) - 4:02   19. Boogie Chillen - 2:31   20. Interview - 2:15

R.L. Burnside (guitar, vocals) , Daniel Burnside (bass) , Calvin Jackson (drums)


1. AllMusic - Steve Leggett
R.L. Burnside, along with Junior Kimbrough, became the public face of the so-called North Mississippi hill country style of modal blues in the 1980s with several solid albums on the Fat Possum label, and while he tried on different hats during his run (even tracking a fine album backed by indie rocker Jon Spencer and his band), the blues he made essentially stayed in the same pocket, honed from years of playing weekend house parties and juke joints. His droning style, the style that all of the North Mississippi players used, was equal parts John Lee Hooker and Fred McDowell, designed to keep the beat steady for dancing and allowing minimal but effective interplay between voice and guitar, and it was as old as those hills themselves, somehow sounding both ancient and oddly contemporary all at once. This set, drawn from intimate recordings done in 1975, 1989, and 1991, features Burnside playing mostly solo -- both acoustic and electric -- in living rooms, on porches, and in jukes, and it provides a nicely sequenced portrait of this intriguing musician working away from a studio setting, not that what he did in the studios differed one degree from what he did outside of them. Highlights include two takes of “Long Haired Doney,” three of the signature “Poor Black Mattie” (both acoustic and electric), an endearing and intimate version of “Goin’ Down South,” and a solid take on Hooker's “Boogie Chillen” that shows how large a role Hooker played in the creation of the hill country sound and style.

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