Monday, February 28, 2011

"See My Jumper Hanging on the Line"

It’s Monday—& in fact it’s the Monday Morning Blues—but, dear readers & listeners, you won’t be treated to my golden voice today.  I’m doing some shuffling of the schedule for the next month, & as a result, bounced myself off the usual Monday slot.  But that doesn’t mean my music shall vanish entirely thru this time period.  Patience—more will be revealed later!

In the meantime, I have a fantastic line-up of Monday Morning blues videos for your listening & watching pleasure.  One departure: they’re all electric blues!  For clarity’s sake, I should say that although I play acoustically myself (of course, I mostly play resonator guitars, which are a kind of special case), I’m not one of those oldtime music folks who scoff at electric instruments.  Fact is, I’ve played a fair amount of electric guitar & wouldn’t be at all surprised if I did so again at some point.  I know if I were financially flush these days (far from it) a Telecaster would look mighty appealing. 

Today’s featured artist is the great Mississippi blues player, RL Burnside caught on film by Alan Lomax, Worth Long & John Bishop in August, 1978.  “See My Jumper Hanging On the Line” is Burnside’s own composition & it typifies his hard driving style, propelled by a characteristic drone.  Burnside fingerpicks using only his thumb & index finger—an old method of fingerpicking that I suspect goes back to early styles of banjo playing.

Burnside, who was born in 1926 in Holly Springs, Mississippi was first recorded by George Mitchell in the 1960s, but he didn’t follow these up until releasing Mississippi Hill Country Blues in 1984.  Perhaps the biggest boost to his music career came when he was featured in the film Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads (1991).  Following this, Burnside issued 10 albums between 1992 & 2004 (admittedly, the final three contained re-mixed material).  He played regularly with the blues-punk band, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion & released the 1996 album A Ass Pocket of Whiskey with that group.  RL Burnside passed away in 2005

Burnside’s music is really moving & fascinating; hope you like today’s tune!


  1. Cool! Although he plays on an electric, there's still a strong rootsy, acoustic approach to the playing. And yeah, I can see and hear the banjo influence on the playing style.

  2. Hi Roy: Yes, very rootsy playing. I've read that Burnside preferred playing electric & when he recorded acoustically it was usually to satisfy the white musicologists etc. who thought acoustic was "more authentic."

  3. My favorite RL tune! I hadn't seen this particular video -- thanks.

  4. Awesome stuff! He's such an example of "Raw is beautiful!"


  5. Hi Dave & Doug

    Dave: It's a wonderful video--I was excited to find it. Glad you liked it!

    Doug: You just summed up my musical aesthetic in 3 words! Thanks!


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