R.L. Burnside
Black to the Music - english version

R.I.P.   NOVEMBER 23rd, 1926  –  SEPTEMBER 1st, 2005

Black to the Music - R.L. Burnside - logo header
Biography

North Mississippi guitarist R.L. Burnside
was one of the paragons of state-of-the-art Delta juke joint blues.

Black to the Music - R.L. Burnside - 2003

The guitarist, singer and songwriter was born November 23, 1926 in Oxford, MS, and made his home in Holly Springs, in the hill country above the Delta. He lived most of his life in the Mississippi hill country, which, unlike the Delta region, consists mainly of a lot of small farms. He learned his music from his neighbor, Fred McDowell, and the highly rhythmic style that Burnside plays is evident in McDowell’s recording as well.

Fred McDowell

Despite the otherworldly country-blues sounds put down by Burnside and his family band, known as the Sound Machine, his other influences are surprisingly contemporary: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins. But Burnside’s music is pure country Delta juke joint blues, heavily rhythm-oriented and played with a slide.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that he began hitting full stride with tours and his music, thanks largely to the efforts of Fat Possum Records. The label has issued recordings made by a group of Burnside’s peers, including Junior Kimbrough, Dave Thompson and others.

Up until the mid-’80s, Burnside was primarily a farmer and fisherman. After getting some attention in the late ’60s via folklorists George Mitchell (Mitchell recorded him for the Arhoolie label), he recorded for the Vogue, Swingmaster and Highwater record labels. Although he had done short tours, it wasn’t until the late ’80s that he was invited to perform at several European blues festivals. In 1992, he was featured alongside his friend Junior Kimbrough (whose Holly Spings juke joint Burnside lives next to), in the documentary film, Deep Blues.

Black to the Music - R.L. Burnside - 02 with Junior Kimbrough
R.L. Burnside & Junior Kimbrough

His debut recording, Bad Luck City (1992), was released that same year on Fat Possum Records. Burnside has a second record out on the Oxford-based Fat Possum label, Too Bad Jim (1994).These recordings showcase the raw, barebones electric guitar stylings of Burnside, and on both recordings he’s accompanied by a small band, which includes his son Dwayne on bass and son-in-law Calvin Jackson on drums, as well as guitarist Kenny Brown.

Black to the Music - Fat Possum Records logo

Both recordings also adequately capture the feeling of what it must be like to be in Junior Kimbrough’s juke joint, where both men played this kind of raw, unadulterated blues for over 30 years. This is the kind of downhome, backporch blues played today as it has been for many decades. In 1996, Burnside teamed with indie-rocker Jon Spencer to cut A Ass Pocket O’ Whiskey for the hip Matador label; he returned to Fat Possum in 1998 for the more conventional Come on In.

As Burnside had been recording intermittently since the late ’60s a spate of re-issues and live recordings began to appear in the 2000’s. Chief among them were Mississippi Hill Country Blues, largely recorded in the Netherlands in the 1980s; First Recordings, which gathered 14 of George Mitchell’s 1967 field recordings of Burnside in Coldwater, MS; a live set documenting a west coast tour Burnside on Burnside appeared in 2001.

His next studio album Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down appeared in 2000 but it would be another 4 years before the next new R.L. Burnside recording Bothered Mind was released. That same year Burnside suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery. He never fully recovered from the attack and in 2005, at the age of 78, R.L. Burnside passed away in a Memphis, TN hospital.

source  :  website official Fat Possum Record
Discography
1981 - Sound Machine Groove
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1981a Sound Machine Groove

A1. Shake, Little Baby
A2. Rolling And Tumbling
A3. Bad Luck City
A4. Going Down South
A5. Sound Machine Groove

B1. Jumper Hanging Out On The Line
B2. Searching For My Baby
B3. Long Haired Doney
B4. Pretty Woman
B5. Goin’ Away Baby

1981 - Plays And Sings The Mississippi Delta Blues
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1981b Plays and Sings the Mississippi Delta Blues

A1. Shake ‘Em On Down
A2. My First Wife Left Me
A3. Rolling And Tumbling
A4. Walking Blues
A5. Just Like A Woman
A6. Death Bells

B1. Long Distance Call
B2. Jumper On The Line
B3. Nightmare Blues
B4. Poor Black Mattie
B5. Bad Luck And Trouble
B6. Sweet Black Angel

1984 - Mississippi Blues (live)
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1984 Mississippi Blues (live)

A1. Jumper Hanging Out On The Line
A2. Sweet Little Angel
A3. Long Haired Doney
A4. Nightmare Blues
A5. Poor Black Mattie
A6. Catfish Blues

B1. Death Bells
B2. Dust My Broom
B3. Bad Luck And Trouble
B4. Rolling And Tumbling
B5. When My First Wife Quit Me

1992 - Bad Luck City (with The Sound Machine)
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1992 Bad Luck City

01. Talking About The Ghetto
02. Bad Luck City / Friend Of Mine
03. Shake For Me
04. Boogie Chillen
05. All She Do
06. Long Haired Doney / Poor Boy Long Way From Home
07. Burnsides’ Blues
08. Crosscut Saw
09. Outskirts Of Town
10. My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble
11. Look On Yonder’s Wall
12. Jumper On The Line
13. No Place To Go
14. Bad Sign
15. Killing Floor
16. You Don’t Love Me

1994 - Too Bad Jim
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1994 Too Bad Jim

A1. Shake ‘Em On Down
A2. When My First Wife Left Me
A3. Short-Haired Woman
A4. Old Black Mattie
A5. Fireman Ring The Bell

B1. Peaches
B2. Miss Glory B.
B3. 44 Pistol
B4. Death Bell Blues
B5. Goin’ Down South

1996 - A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1996 A Ass Pocket of Whiskey

A1. Goin’ Down South
A2. Boogie Chillen
A3. Poor Boy
A4. 2 Brothers
A5. Snake Drive
A6. Shake ‘Em On Down

B1. The Criminal Inside Me
B2. Walkin’ Blues
B3. Tojo Told HiItler
B4. Have You Ever Been Lonely?

1997 - Mr. Wizard
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1997 Mr. Wizard

A1. When My First Wife Left Me
A2. Death Bell Blues
A3. Skinny Woman
A4. Monkey In The Pool Room
A5. Hobo Blues
A6. Walking Blues

B1. Long Haired Doney
B2. Poor Black Mattie
B3. Meet Me In The Bottom
B4. Miss Glory B.
B5. Kindhearted Woman Blues
B6. Gamblers Blues

1998 - Come On In
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1998 Come On In

A1. Been Mistreated
A2. Come On In (Live)
A3. Let My Baby Ride
A4. Don’t Stop Honey
A5. It’s Bad You Know
A6. Just Like A Woman

B1. Come On In (Part 2)
B2. Rollin’ Tumblin’ (Remix)
B3. Please Don’t Stay
B4. Shuck Dub
B5. Come On In (Part 3)
B6. Heat

1999 - My Black Name A-Ringin'
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 1999 My Black Name a-Ringin' (1st version)

A1. Goin’ Down South
A2. Two Trains Runnin’
A3. Sat Down On My Bed And Cried
A4. Nine Days In Jail
A5. Long Haired Doney
A6. Hobo Blues
A7. My Black Name Ringin’

B1. Catfish Blues
B2. See My Jumper
B3. Peach Tree Blues
B4. Goin’ Away Blues
B5. Poor Boy
B6. Tom Wilson’s Place

2000 - Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 2000 Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down

A1. Hard Time Killing Floor
A2. Got Messed Up
A3. Miss Maybelle
A4. Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
A5. Too Many Ups
A6. Nothin’ Man

B1. See What My Buddy Done
B2. My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble
B3. Bad Luck City
B4. Chain Of Fools
B5. R.L.’s Story

2001 - Burnside on Burnside (live)
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 2001 Burnside on Burnside (live)

A1. Shake ‘Em On Down
A2. Skinny Woman
A3. Miss Maybelle
A4. Rollin’ & Tumblin’
A5. Long Haired Doney
A6. Walkin’ Blues
A7. He Ain’t Your Daddy

B1. Bad Luck And Trouble
B2. Jumper On The Line
B3. Goin’ Down South
B4. Alice Mae
B5. Snake Drive

2004 - A Bothered Mind
Black to th Music - R.L. Burnside - 2004 A Brother Mind

A1. Detroit Boogie, Pt. 1
A2. See What My Buddy Done
A3. Shake ‘Em On Down
A4. Goin’ Down South
A5. My Name Is Robert Too
A6. Someday Baby
A7. Go To Jail

B1. Bird Without A Feather
B2. Glory Be
B3. Goin’ Away Baby
B4. Rollin’ And Tumblin’
B5. Stole My Check
B6. Detroit Boogie, Pt. 2

Radioshow
The Black Sunday Live #42 - Blues Highway Part.2

Black to th Music - radioshow The Black Music Live #45 spéciale Blues HighwayJohn Lee Hooker – Live At Newport (1963)

  • Introduction by George Winston
  • Hodo Blues
  • Maudie
  • I Can’t Quit You Baby
  • Stop Now Baby
  • Tupelo
  • Sometimes You Make Me Feel So Bad
  • Bus Station Blues
  • Let’s Make It
  • Great Fire of Natchez
  • Boom Boom
  • You’re Gonna Need Another Favor


R.L. Burnside – Live From House Of Blues, Chicago (1998)

  • Old Black Maddie
  • Shake ’em On Down
  • Rollin’ And Tumblin’
  • Please Don’t Stay
  • Long Haired Doney
  • Boogie Chillun’
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • Po’ Boy
  • Goin’ With My Baby
  • You Better Stay Away
  • Let My Baby Ride


The Wesley Jefferson Band – The Delta Blues, Live From The Do Drop Inn (1996)

  • Just A Little Bit
  • You Don’t Love Me
  • I’ll Play The Blues For You
  • Young Folks With The Blues
  • Do You Want A Man
  • Frankie And Johnniebaby
  • That Hurts
  • Take Me To The Country
  • Bad Company Keeper

01. Poor Black Mattie
02. Rolling & Tumbling
03. Peach Tree Blues
04. Skinny Woman
05. Going Down South
06. I Believe My Time Ain’t Long
07. Bad Luck And Trouble
08. Jumper On The Line
09. Ramblin’ On My Mind
10. Gone So Long
11. Long Distance Call
12. 44 Blues
13. See What My Buddy Done
14. Poor Boy
15. Sneakers Jam