R. L. Burnside

Mr. Wizard

  • Fat Possum/Epitaph

Junior Kimbrough's labelmate on Fat Possum, R. L. Burnside is another Mississippi hill country-bluesman rescued from obscurity in the early '90s. His seminal Fat Possum recording Too Bad Jim, is one of the best blues efforts of the decade. Mr. Wizard sits right next to it in terms of raw blues power. The tracks on it range from riveting solo slide blues (“Over the Hill”) to blistering electric blues (“Alice Mae”). Burnside also pays homage to Fred McDowell, one of his mentors, on “Tribute to Fred” and liberally quotes John Lee Hooker on “Georgia Women.” Each note, each riff, each beat is carved out of genuine Mississippi mud.

— Robert Santelli