"Today, at age 77, this popular North Mississippi singer-guitarist is a master of dirty juke-joint blues. But Burnside was a farm hand when these late '60s recordings captured him developing his staples "Goin' Down South," "Jumper On the Line," "Poor Black Mattie," and "Long Haired Doney"--and his playing style--in bare-boned acoustic form. Burnside practically cries over the roiling John Lee Hooker-influenced guitar lines of the heartbroken "Like a Bird Without a Feather," which he's never again recorded, winning sympathy until he admits that he murdered his lost lover. In "Skinny Woman," covered recently by the North Mississippi Allstars, he offsets the rippling picking style associated with John Hurt by beating his knuckles against his six-string's body. Burnside's slide on "Walkin' Blues" favors the low strings until his solo stabs into the high register with keening, measured authority, matching the sweet and dusty tones of his voice, which then possessed a youthful flexibility that wrung all sorts of nuances from these 14 songs."
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