Home Read Classic Album Review: R.L. Burnside | Mississippi Hill Country Blues

Classic Album Review: R.L. Burnside | Mississippi Hill Country Blues

Check out some of the Delta blues phenom's earliest & most traditional recordings.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Like a lot of old bluesmen, R.L. Burnside seems to have been willing to record for anyone who was willing to write him a nice cheque. And as with a lot of bluesmen, now that he’s hit it big, these long-forgotten recordings are seeing the light of day again.

Fine by me — I’ve never met an R.L. album I didn’t like. Mississippi Hill Country Blues, a collection of tunes recorded between the late ’60s and early ’80s, is no exception. In fact, this set just might be the cream of the R.L. reissue crop. These 19 cuts include some of Burnside’s earliest and most traditional recordings of folk-blues classics like Rolling and Tumbling, Bad Luck and Trouble and Shake ’Em On Down. Burnside moans ’em, shouts ’em and howls ’em in a youthful, expressive voice and accompanies himself with some nimble fretwork. There’s no hoodoo jive, no punk-blues drums, no funky sampling — just one man, 12 bars and a lifetime of experience. And that’s all R.L.’s ever needed. That and a nice cheque.