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Thursday, April 5, 2001

Review - Well ... Well ... Well

Artist: R.L. Burnside

Posted on Thu, Apr 5, 2001 at 4:00 AM

Long before crossing over into the world of Jon Spencer hipsters via 1996's collaboration "A Ass Pocket of Whiskey," R.L. Burnside was a bluesman plain and simple. Delta and juke-joint blues are where Burnside comfortably dwells, and "Well ... Well ... Well ..." captures him at his laid-back best by using previously neglected recordings of private sessions and early concerts.

The material was captured during Burnside's rise to greater fame, while he was beginning to tour and play larger blues and folk festivals. We get simple songs propelled by driving rhythm and moaning vocals to match recordings that are far from slick.

The entire album avoids any sort of beer-commercial-blues percussion. In fact, there's only a drummer on two songs -- this is an album for those who believe that the best blues percussion might very well be a foot stomping a floorboard. The simplicity helps you hear how Burnside was in the beginning, and how true he's remained to those Mississippi hill-country blues.

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