Monday, July 15, 2013

Junior Kimbrough - You Better Run - The Essential Junior Kimbrough

Junior is another blues musician - similar to R.L. Burnside, who he has been compared to - who, having been born in 1930, recorded briefly in the 60's and 70's with little or no releases or distribution, but came to prominence with Fat Possum's resurgence in the 90's. Influenced by John Lee Hooker & Lightnin' Hopkins, Kimbrough managed to created his own, unique sound that is droney, bluesy and quite harrowing.

Friends with Burnside, the families often collaborated and each man's sons have played with the elders. But, I find R.L. to be a bit more of a "regular" Mississippi bluesman while Kimbrough is much more atmospheric and moody. He guitar work drones and wails and he will often hit "bum" notes in his reach for expression, but since most of his recordings are done live - I once read where Junior would simply move onto another song if the first take didn't work - this simply adds to the magic of the song. Each number has its own hypnotic groove and while there's not distinct verse/choruses, it is quite enticing.

This is a "greatest hits" package (not that he really had any hits) from his 3 full length releases in the 90's - "All Night Long", "Sad Days, Lonely Nights" and "Most Things Haven't Worked Out". While you are not likely to find yourself humming any of these songs and the playing is simplistic, his work is still terrific blues, in the real, organic sense of the word. Not for those who like their music slick, but if you dig the down'n'dirty, real life, emotional blues, check our Junior!