Too Bad Jim is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, Bad Luck City. It features R.L. Burnside fronting a small juke joint combo, tearing through some greasy blues. However, Too Bad Jim is the better album, simply from a performance standpoint. Burnside sounds more relaxed and the band steps back from the spotlight slightly, letting the guitarist burn brightly on his own, showcasing his deep blues roots. AMG
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In his documentary "Deep Blues," eccentric producer Robert Palmer introduced us to a brand of blues that comes not from the Delta, but from the hill country region of northwest Mississippi. While it bears a vague resemblance to its lowlands cousin, Hill Country Blues is a whole 'nother critter altogether. It is, as Palmer describes in the liner notes of this CD, a "slashing, droning trance-blues," a "churning, jamming one-chord exercise in stamina and mass-hypnosis." Too many recordings these days suffer from excessive post-production, processed until they've been homogenized, sterilized, or just plain castrated, but this ain't slicked-up big city blues, Bubba. Uh Uh. Robert Palmer is a blues bloodhound; he knows where the Real Blues live, and on this CD records them in their element as they happen. The results are, in a word, profound. Burnside plays a wicked, ratty slide over the top of a hypnotic backbeat laid down by backup guitarist Kenny Brown, bassist Dwayne...
This is a good CD but it weights in at only 41 minutes which is inexcusably short for a "live" CD; I mean, this guy probably jammed all night! And, though it was recorded live at Junior Kimbrough's Juke Joint, it was subsequently cleaned up at Fat Possum Studios which is why it doesn't have much of a "live" feel--there's hardly any audience or background noise which can add to the excitment of the recording. A much better, and longer (53 minutes), Burnside CD is "Burnside On Burnside", which was also recorded live but has all of the electricity of a live peformance. If you can afford only one Burnside CD then "Burnside On Burnside" is the one to get.
Old style country blues cranked up to hard-rock volumes. No generic Chicago shuffle here, instead a truly strange and hypnotic Fred McDowell meets John Lee Hooker boogie. Brilliantly played and sung. Extremely raw and well produced blues. If you crank up this album it sounds like the band is in the room with you, making it up as they go along.
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