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2023 Albums Thing #056 - RL Burnside “Come On In”

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RL Burnside was a Blues guitarist, songwriter and singer born in 1926 somewhere in Mississippi (no-one knows where for sure). His actual name was either Rural (which is on his tombstone), Robert Lee, Rule, or Ruel (no-one knows for sure). He learned to play guitar from Mississippi Fred McDowell and remained pretty much unknown until the 1990’s when he began recording and touring with Jon Spencer (he of the Blues Explosion). RL passed away in 2005.

There are a couple of reasons I own this album. Two of the tracks (“Shuck Dub” and “It’s Bad You Know”) were part of the soundtrack of TV series “The Sopranos” with which I was/am slightly obsessed. And unbelievably “It’s Bad You Know” started being played at some “Rare Soul” events I was attending in the 2010’s. The 7” started selling for astronomical sums so I bought the album instead.

“Come On In” is a remix album, mixing Burnside's songs and playing with electronica, samples, dance music styled beats, a real drummer (his grandson Cedric) and Hip Hop techniques. What you end up with is a raucous mix of the Blues and “dance music”. Modern Drummer magazine described it as a "weird fusion of Old South and East Village."

The album gives you everything from one man and his guitar Blues and live performances (the title track covers both of those) to full on dance floor crushers (the already discussed “It’s Bad You Know”) all interspersed with dub and trippy grooves (“Don’t Stop Honey”). 

It’s Bad You Know - https://youtu.be/MQ-6fpuVeFA

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