Sunday, September 04, 2005 | By: Dusty Taylor

Blues Innovator R.L. Burnside passes

The man, the myth and the legend was 78 when he finally succumbed to heart problems in a Memphis hospital this week. His last album was released in 2004 which I find incredible for someone that age and who hasn't been in the best of health for the last five years.

Born in Harmontown, Mississippi, on Nov. 21, 1926, Burnside grew up as a sharecropper and fisherman before learning the guitar from local musicians like Fred McDowell and Rainie Burnett. He eventually migrated to Chicago in the 1940s where he came under the influence of blues legends like Lightning Hopkins and Muddy Waters. He didn't stay there long, returning to his Mississippi roots after his father, uncle and brother were murdered there in the span of one month. He played with many people and by combining his gritty countrified sound with elements of indie rock, hip-hop and even electronica he found a new audience of people primarily defined as "youngsters",using his own word.

Burnside is survived by his wife, Alice Mae, 12 children and numerous grandchildren. One of his grandsons, drummer Cedric Burnside toured with R.L's band in the 90's. He will have some great company up in heaven..

1 people gave us their .02 cents:

The Zombieslayer said...

Wow Dusty, you have good taste in music. He's awesome. Cedric by the way is an awesome drummer. He appeared on some of R.L.'s recordings.