Undisputedly Honest and Raw Mississippi Blues…. Bentonia Blues to Be Precise.
Well alright there….
I’m gonna get ready to do my thing and review this record; ….
sitting down to listen to the unadorned, compelling new record by Duwayne Burnside, I was thunderstruck by the gravity of the last name and impact of this hypnotic and authentic American artist.
The lineage is pure, undisputed Mississippi Blues…. Bentonia Blues to be precise; and the feel is for ‘real‘ on every level.
As Burnside so beautifully declares,
“… you can hear this music come right out of my heart, because that’s where my daddy put it.”
Yes you certainly can, Duwayne and Thank You!
The son of the legendary, R.L. Burnside, Duwayne Burnside’s “Acoustic Burnside” is a return to the stripped down guitar and vocal “good-time” chug with a hefty serving of ancestral joy and deep-rooted love for an art form that was passed down in the mud, the blood & the bone.
From the first track; R.L.’s “Goin’ Down South,” Burnside’s slightly out of pitch guitar puts us on a road trip that feels as if the wheels will fall off at any moment and yet manages to steady and stay on course throughout.
There is fear and trepidation in every verse all the while remaining committed to the end that surely awaits.
His version of “See My Jumper Hanging on the Line” throws the swing into the tune and summons a metronome to measure the pulse of a classic tune, reinterpreted by a son for his father with reverence and delight.
“Poor Black Mattie” caught me like a fish on a hook; and I wiggled there for a long long while, bathing in the rhythm and cadence of the tale that took me to Memphis looking for my own baby too.
The guitar riff is so propulsive and this song is so H.O.T, as Duwayne puts it, “Cherry Red,” I swear that I broke a sweat just listening to it!
Transfixed and bewitched, I left this tune longing to know “Poor Black Mattie.”
A stunning portrait, simply painted by an artist who is uncomplicated by adornment but schooled in the craft of storytelling.
Throughout the record, Burnside pays homage to his father as well as fellow Mississippi Bluesman, Junior Kimbrough as well as several other legends via the songs, “Alice Mae,” “Goin’ Down South,” “Lord Have Mercy on Me,” and the ubiquitous “Dust My Broom.”
This record, released on Dolceola Records, a label fixed on preserving traditional music via analog-style field recordings, certainly captures that vibe, as it was produced by George Mitchell for R.L in 1968. Dolceola’s founder, Dan Torigoe has succeeded beyond measure in capturing the raw, unprocessed, natural sound for a modern audience.
“Meet Me in The City” is a departure with a most welcome effect.
More of a Soul song with a Blues feel, this tune captures a Sam Cooke overtone.
“Stay All Night” gets FUNKY A.F and it’s just what the doctor ordered.
The guitar is the star in this desperate lover’s plea to be loved all night long.
A gripping performance indeed.
“44 Pistol” contains a hook on the guitar that pushes the tune along, weaving Burnside’s excellent guitar work throughout.
Usually an electric guitar player, Duwayne Burnside implements the acoustic so deftly on this song that I can’t imagine it sounding any better on an electric.
He is so firmly set in the groove that it moves like a well-oiled machine.
“Bad Bad Pain” and “Lord Have Mercy on Me” finish off the record in syncopated style.
The latter, written by Junior Kimbrough adds piano and percussion and includes room sounds, starting the tune off with talking amongst friends in the room.
These tracks, alive with presence and vitality, time and place, capture the essence of the blues and the birthright that is Duwayne Burnside.
A rich compilation of songs and performances that come from a deep, delicious well of talent, as well as culture and generosity of spirit that will no doubt excite and encourage a new generation of Mississippi Blues acolytes and loyal, lifetime fans.
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY