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R.L. Burnside Facts

R.L. Burnside: The Mississippi Delta Blues Legend

The Life and Times of R.L. Burnside

Born in Lafayette County, Mississippi on November 23, 1926, R.L. Burnside was a blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He lived in the small town of Harmontown, Mississippi, where he was exposed to the blues at a young age. Burnside learned to play the guitar from his father, who was also a blues musician. At the age of 16, Burnside moved to Chicago to work at a foundry, but soon returned to the South to farm and play music.

Over the course of his career, Burnside would become a prominent figure in the Delta blues scene. He was married twice and had twelve children. Burnside passed away in 2005, leaving behind a legacy of innovative and authentic blues music that continues to influence musicians to this day.

Early Life and Career

Burnside grew up in the Mississippi Delta, where he was exposed to the Delta blues sound that was popular in the region. His father, Calvin Burnside, was a musician who played the same style of blues that would later become Burnside’s signature sound. Burnside took up the guitar at a young age and began playing music with his father and other local musicians.

In 1959, Burnside formed a band called the Sound Machine with his friend, drummer Calvin Jackson. The band played a mix of blues and R&B, and quickly gained a reputation as a lively and entertaining act. Burnside’s music career was put on hold in the early 1960s, when he moved to Memphis in search of work. He eventually returned to Mississippi to work on a farm.

The 1990s Revival

Burnside’s music received renewed attention in the 1990s, as a new generation of blues enthusiasts discovered his unique style. In 1991, Burnside recorded the album “Bad Luck City” with the slide guitarist Kenny Brown. The record was well received, and Burnside soon found himself playing to larger audiences.

Burnside’s biggest break came in 1994, when he recorded the album “A Ass Pocket of Whiskey” with the punk blues band the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The album was a critical and commercial success, and Burnside’s music reached a wider audience than ever before. He continued to record and tour throughout the rest of the decade, playing at festivals and clubs around the world.

Personal Life

Burnside was married twice and had twelve children. He was known for his infectious smile, friendly personality, and humorous on-stage banter. Burnside was also a devout Christian, and often spoke about his faith in interviews.

Legacy and Impact

Burnside’s music has had a lasting impact on the blues and rock music scenes. His innovative use of slide guitar and gritty vocals helped define the modern Delta blues sound. Burnside’s influence can be heard in the music of contemporary blues musicians like Gary Clark Jr. and the Black Keys, as well as alternative rock bands like the White Stripes.

Top Songs

– “Poor Black Mattie”
– “It’s Bad You Know”
– “Shake ‘Em on Down”
– “Let My Baby Ride”
– “Miss Maybelle”

Net Worth

At the time of his death, Burnside’s net worth was estimated to be around $2 million. However, his true legacy lies in his music, which continues to inspire generations of musicians long after his passing.

In Conclusion

R.L. Burnside was a pioneer of the Delta blues sound, and his music has had a lasting impact on the genre. He lived a full and colorful life, and his contributions to music will continue to be celebrated for generations to come. As Burnside himself once said, “I play the blues because that’s the way I feel. I don’t play to show off, I play to express myself.”

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