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My Black Name A-Ringin'

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Album Review

R.L. Burnside has been playing the blues since the '50s, but providing for his large family (he would eventually have 13 children) and his love for his hometown kept him from supporting himself with his music until the '80s. These recordings were made in 1969 when blues musician Big Joe Williams led a carload of Adelphi Records filmmakers and sound engineers on a tour through the blues country from Chicago south to Mississippi. Burnside was one of the highlights of the trip, and the crew ended up setting up camp near his home for some time to record. My Black Name A-Ringin' presents Burnside in a stripped-down, acoustic form and shows his native north hill country style as well as some early influences. Each song shows off a different facet of his style: "Goin' Down South" is a hypnotic drone with short, repetitive rhythmic sections; "Two Trains Runnin'" features more of a traditional Delta style with its deep, sad harmonica; and "My Black Name A-Ringin'" shows what Burnside could do with a traditional song dating as far back as slavery. Overall, this album presents an interesting prequel to Burnside's recordings with Fat Possum Records and his experimentalism in the 1990s.


Born: 23 November 1926 in Oxford, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

North Mississippi guitarist R.L. Burnside was one of the paragons of state-of-the-art Delta juke joint blues. The guitarist, singer and songwriter was born November 23, 1926 in Oxford, MS, and made his home in Holly Springs, in the hill country above the Delta. He lived most of his life in the Mississippi hill country, which, unlike the Delta region, consists mainly of a lot of small farms. He learned his music from his neighbor, Fred McDowell, and the highly rhythmic style that Burnside plays is...
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My Black Name A-Ringin', R.L. Burnside
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