RL Burnside- Too Bad Jim (1994), Accoustic Stories (1997), Come On In (1998), Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (2000)

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Born in Harmintown, Mississippi in 1926, Burnside spent most of the first half of his life working as a sharecropper in the Mississippi Hill Country, only playing guitar on the weekends at house parties and juke joints. Seeking new opportunities, Burnside embarked on a relocation to Chicago in the mid 1950’s. However, this would prove to be an abbreviated and violently tragic trip. The city was the scene of three murders in the year 1957; those of Burnside’s father, brother, and uncle. Ironically, shortly after his return to Mississippi, Burnside himself was convicted of the killing of a man who had allegedly attacked the musician’s home. Much to the testament of rural justice provisions of the time and place, Burnside was sentenced to just six months in prison due to the rumored string pulling of his boss (who was concerned about losing a hardworking employee). Of the crime, he’s said: “I didn’t mean to kill nobody, I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord.”

The 1960’s saw Burnside’s first recordings, released on now famous blues label Arhoolie Records. After these releases, Burnside’s only output prior to his 1990’s resurgence  included sporadic singles and a full length album recorded in the early 1980’s, Hill Country Blues. It was  during the early 1990’s that a label out of Oxford, Mississippi called Fat Possum began to dig into the lost pages of blues history, seeking out hidden gems in the form of obscure and fabled bluesmen. Many of these musicians had previously never been in a professional recording studio, let alone have any legitimate releases. Along with fellow unsung legends such as T Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, Solomon Burke, and Cedell Davis, Burnside’s music received the long deserved recognition Fat Possum’s rediscovery provided. He went on to release numerous albums up until the years before his death in 2005.

Here are four of those albums, along with a 1997 clip of Burnside performing Dust My Broom in Cleveland.

Too Bad Jim (1994)

Accoustic Stories (1997)

Come On In (1998)

Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (2000)

  1. W says:

    A fine bluesman: adventurous enough to do stuff like Come On In and traditional enough to carry off Acoustic Stories. Thanks. W.

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