Uploaded on Apr 3, 2011
BIOGRAPHY WRITTEN BY ME: http://sammynyman.blogspot.com/2011/0...
Burnside On Burnside, recorded live at the Crystal Ballroom on, well, Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon, showcases a return to an earthier sound for Mississippi Hill Country bluesman R.L. Burnside. With a backing band that includes his twenty-two year old grandson Cedric and his longtime sidekick (and stepson), guitarist Kenny Brown, the 74-year old musician delivers a red-hot set of classic raw blues.
R.L. Burnside was born in Layfayette County, near Oxford, Mississippi in 1926. As a young man R.L. moved North into the neighboring Marshall County and began sharecropping. Inspired by John Lee Hooker's '50s hit "Boogie Chillun'," R.L. began singing blues and playing guitar. In addition to the Hooker 45 rpm there were other local forces that influenced R.L as well, such as Mississippi Fred McDowell and Ranie Burnette. Fed up with the hopelessness of sharecropping, Burnside migrated to Chicago in hopes of finding economic opportunity. Chicago did not work out. In the span of one month R.L.'s father, brother and uncle were murdered. Check out "Hard Time Killing Floor" and the closing "R.L.'s Story" for R.L's take on his early years in Chicago. Around 1959 he returned to Mississippi to again work the farms and raise a family. He also started to play music at night and on weekends.
R.L.'s first recordings appeared on a 1967 Arhoolie compilation. Although R.L. preferred electric guitar, the fashion of the day dictated that he be recorded acoustically. These recordings earned Burnside enough of a reputation to play festivals and tours at home and abroad. Throughout the '70s and '80s R.L. played with a family band consisting of sons Joseph and Daniel as well as son-in-law Calvin Jackson, known as the Sound Machine. Though a local favorite R.L. and the Sound Machine were barely known outside of North Mississippi.
This all began to change for R.L. in the early '90s when the documentary film based on author Robert Palmer's book Deep Blues featured R.L. as
one of its highlights. Subsequently Palmer produced R.L.'s Too Bad Jim for the fledgling Fat Possum label. Along with Junior Kimbrough's All Night Long, Too Bad Jim wasone of the most important and influential blues albums of
Too Bad Jim brought R.L. to the attention of post-punk musician Jon
Spencer. R.L. toured extensively with the Jon SpencerBlues Explosion and this led to the collaboration between the two, the result was A Ass Pocket of
Whiskey, a teenageparty record. Ass Pocket of Whiskey made R.L an unlikely champion in the indie rock world.
In 1997 R.L. released Mr. Wizard, Fat Possum's debut record on their new distribution label Epitaph. The album featured R.L's hardcore touring
mates, grandson Cedric Burnside and adopted son Kenny Brown.
In 1998 R.L. released Come On In, which pitted his raw blues against modern electronica, courtesy of producer Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliot Smith). The album was a critical and commercial success, and one of its tracks, "It's Bad You Know," became a respectable radio hit and was featured in The Sopranos and on its soundtrack.
It's the year 2001 and R.L. Burnside is still breaking down boundaries, and bringing the blues to where it's never gone before. Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down is R.L.'s story. Listen up.
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