Thursday, July 11, 2013

R.L. Burnside - Acoustic Stories

As the album title would suggest, this is Rule and his acoustic guitar (with the help of harpist John Neremberg) playing traditional styled Delta blues - something that he excels in! Highly influenced by John Lee Hooker (he covers 3 of Hooker's tunes here - "When My First Wife Left Me", "Hobo Blues" and "Meet Me in the Bottom"), he has a similar presentation, though I think that Burnside is a better guitarist.

R.L.'s numbers are derivative, in the best traditional of the blues (his "Death Bell Blues" is a re-write of "Rollin' and Tumblin'") but this just adds to the authenticity of the proceedings. I love his "Skinny Woman" - great lyrics and cool guitar lick, but could do without his recitations like "Monkey in the Pool Room". His slide work on tunes like "Walking Blues", "Poor Black Mattie" and "Long Haired Doney" is impeccable - great tone and his finger-picking around the slide work augments it perfectly. But his non-slide playing is terrific as well, with numbers like "Miss Glory B" and "Kindhearted Woman" reminiscent of the works of Muddy Waters (his cousin-in-law) and/or Robert Johnson.

This is another excellent Burnside release, recorded in 1988, before he began some of his cross-over work and this is the stuff that I love. Acoustic blues as it should be done!