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1 item from 2011

Anniversaries: Blues Great R.L. Burnside Born 85 Years Ago

21 November 2011 8:33 PM, PST | | See recent CultureCatch news »

R.L. Burnside first recorded at age 40, remained obscure until 65, and was a legend at 75. Born on November 23, 1926 in Oxford, Mississippi, he spent most of his life in his rural native area, where he worked as a sharecropper as late as 1979, though he lived in Chicago and Memphis for short periods. His appearance in the Robert Mugge/Robert Palmer 1992 documentary movie and soundtrack album Deep Blues and his acclaimed 1994 Fat Possum album Too Bad Jim seemed to come out of nowhere to catch the attention of not only blues fans but also the underground rock crowd. But R.L. (pronounced "Rule" by his friends) had been on an Arhoolie compilation LP in 1967, and as his fame rose, several pre-Deep Blues albums reappeared with wider distribution.

Where did Burnside's striking style come from? The decline of the Mississippi sharecropping system and the region's subsequent economic slump led to many railroad lines being discontinued. »

- SteveHoltje

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