When it comes to Mississippi-rooted blues delivered with pure passion and grit, no living performer equals Robert Lee Burnside. Born near Oxford, Mississippi, in 1926, he moves around and finally settles in Holly Springs, making a living on the farm as a sharecropper. At the age of seventeen he takes up singing and playing guitar. One of his teachers is former next-door neighbour Mississippi Fred McDowell, one of the most influential bottleneck players ever. Although the Mississippi blues is generally associated with Delta blues, R.L.’s music has its roots in the rough hills of North-Eastern Mississippi: a blend of hypnotic, almost mantra-like chords with the rhythm of the local Fife And Drum bands, which has its source in Africa and goes back to the 19th century. Of this music - rarely heard nowadays - R.L. Burnside was one of the last and foremost protagonists. It’s not until 1968 that he made his recording debut, at the instigation of writer and folklore specialist George Mitchell. In 1996 R.L. recorded A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey with Jon Spencer and became suddenly known worldwide. Johnny Woods, also a Mississippi man, was born in 1917, in a small town called Looxahoma. His delightful harmonica playing is as much rooted in the single note of North- Mississippi Fife And Drum band tradition as it is in the multi-faceted music of blues legends like Sonny Boy “John Lee” Williamson. Sad to say, he didn’t immediately receive the credit that his artistic achievements deserved. Like so many bluesmen he had to wait for a breakthrough until his early fifties, when he was discovered by the same man who had given Burnside a break in the sixties: George Mitchell. The registrations on this DVD wer recorded some twenty years ago in the back of the Swingmaster record shop. It captures the unique collaboration of two legends in their own right who keep the heritage of their North-Mississippi roots alive. The informal atmosphere during the session adds an extra dimension to the music, which is nothing short of superb. It’s all about doing comfortably what they always regarded as being a natural part of their lives. That particular afternoon the air was filled with magic. The smile on Mr. Burnside’s face says it all.
contents: • concert • biography • previews • Swingmaster story • weblinks technical data: dvd-video vision: NTSC, 4:3 sound: stereo region code: all regions subtitling: none
BURNSIDE R.L. with WOODS Johnny from Felmay Shop
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