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Snake Eyes

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Album Review

Like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker, Eddie "Guitar" Burns is a perfect example of a bluesman who was born and raised in Mississippi but made his mark after he moved north and went electric. The main difference between Burns and those other bluesmen — all of whom he outlived — is the fact that he isn't a great singer. While Waters, Wolf, and Hooker were all both great singers and great musicians, Burns is a fine musician but a limited singer. Of course, having a limited vocal range hasn't prevented Madonna from providing meaningful dance-pop — and similarly, Burns doesn't let his vocal limitations hold him back on Snake Eyes. A 73-year-old Burns recorded this CD for Delmark on September 12 and 13, 2001 — right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and the veteran bluesman is in good form throughout the album. Burns' vocals are on the thin side, but he still gets his points across on original songs, as well as on performances of Memphis Slim's "Lend Me Your Love," Paul Gayten's "For You My Love," and Charles E. Calhoun's "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash" (which has been recorded by everyone from the Clovers to Steve Miller). And his musicianship (on harmonica as well as guitar) is certainly nothing to complain about. Burns, whose brother Jimmy Burns is also employed on guitar, offers an appealing Detroit/Chicago blend — Snake Eyes is primarily an album of Detroit-style electric blues, but the disc isn't without Windy City influences. In fact, the brothers produced Snake Eyes with Delmark founder/president Bob Koester, who is a major expert when it comes to Chicago blues. Although not a five-star masterpiece, Snake Eyes is an enjoyable outing from a blues survivor who has spent many years in the trenches.

Snake Eyes, Eddie Burns
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