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First Recordings (Side)

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George Mitchell’s jaw was on the floor when he first recorded R.L. Burnside in Coldwater, Mississippi, on a sweltering night in August of 1967. Mitchell had already recorded several established musicians in the area (Will Shade, Furry Lewis, Fred McDowell) when a friend of Burnside’s — the harmonica player Johnny Woods — told Mitchell about Burnside. First Recordings reveals a musician playing and singing in a hypnotic, cyclical style that contained elements of McDowell and John Lee Hooker, but was unlike anything anyone had ever heard outside the micro-locale of North Mississippi. The complex repetitive motions he unleashes on self-possessed numbers like “Jumper On the Line,” “Long Haired Doney,” and “Goin’ Down South” give Burnside a power and a presence befitting a full band, and he never — ever — misses a beat. Mitchell’s 1967 session would mark the beginning of a long and fruitful career. First Recordings not only captures a master in his prime, but preserves that moment of jaw-dropping discovery when the immense power of an unknown musician first touched foreign ears.

Customer Reviews


This album is a fantastic addition to any fan of blues. If you haven't heard R.L. then this is a good album to pick up. If you've heard his electric works then this will probably surprise you. This is also a very hard album to find and it's awesome that iTunes has it. Once you buy this one, try Mississippi Hill Country Blues. After you listen to the acoustic side of R.L. try his electric side. A must have is A A*s Pocket of Whiskey.


Born: November 23, 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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