From the Vault...


R.L. Burnside
"Come On In"

© Fat Possum/Epitah Record Year of Release: 1998

track listing
  • Been Mistreated
  • Come On In (Live)
  • Let My Baby Ride
  • Don't Stop Honey
  • It's Bad You Know
  • Just Like A Woman
  • Come On In (Part 2)
  • Rollin' Tumblin' (Remix)
  • Please Don't Stay
  • Shuck Dub
  • Come On In (Part 3)
  • Heat

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    R.L. Burnside Website
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    Tom T. Hall--Greatest Hits Volumes I And II
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    R.L. Burnside
    "Come On In"

    Thanks to a great Chicago radio station, WXRT, I have always expanded my musical knowledge of old and new music artists. On the way to work one morning, one song caught my attention, and after hearing it, I immediately wanted to know what the song title and artist was. Sadly, most radio stations don't announce this information in between each song, so I couldn't stay in the car too long, as I was due on the work clock. So, the next best solution was to call the radio station request line, and hopefully not waiting on hold while the phone was constantly ringing for an amount of time, I would get that information.

    Luckily, in most cases when I do call WXRT's studio number, the waiting is not that long; of course it's best to call during the "not-so-busiest-hours;" which would be early in the morning, or right around rush hour. I called after 6 or 7 pm, and after a few rings, I was able to discuss with the DJ, this great blues tune I had heard previously. The DJ immediately knew what song I was referring to, and mentioned it was by bluesman R.L. Burnside, from his 1998 release, Come On In. Calling the local record store, they did have it in stock, as they held it for me, as I rushed out to purchase this CD.

    In seeing R.L. Burnside, he reminded me of the classic blues artists who were up in age, yet still dedicating their hearts to what they do best: To play the blues. Artists such as Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker all rocked until their last days on earth, as all three (Muddy, Hooker, Burnside) are/were past the age of 70.

    The opening track, "Been Mistreated," I really didn't care for, as it sounds like a somewhat blues-meets-rap rendition. It merges into the next song, "Come On In (Live)," as it has a great John Lee Hooker-sounding slow blues feel, with just the guitar and vocals.

    "Let My Baby Ride" features some very impressive rock/blues. There isn't much singing, as the song is more concentrated on it's rough rock and blues sound. "Don't Stop Honey" has some awesome "wah-wah"-type guitarwork, as it once again defines tough-grit rock blues.

    Which brings us to the most powerful and energetic tune on this release: "It's Bad You Know." This is the song that caught my eyes and ears on WXRT. It is a great blues driving tune, with harmonica, and its pulse-driving drumbeat, and brief guitar licks. "Just Like A Woman" returns as another great blues tune, boogie-woogie styled, as in John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen."

    "Come On In (Part 2)" is slow-driving grit blues, with some psychedelic touches. The regular guitar licks is similar, yet faster, of The Doors' version of John Lee Hooker's, "Crawling King Snake." Burnside's "Come On In (Part 2)" is an instrumental. "Rollin' Tumblin' (Remix)" is a remix version of "It's Bad You Know," as it is also mixed with Muddy Waters' "Rollin and Tumblin'" which Eric Clapton & Cream covered on their Live Cream album.

    "Please Don't Stay" is fair; it's common verses repeats, and after a while it does get a little tiring. This song is probably the least-favorite selection. Likewise, "Shuck Dub" is a very strange cut, it might just be a little uncomfortable, it's sound is definitely psychedelic, and could just be as disturbing.

    Luckily, the remaining part (Part 3) of "Come On In" is easier to listen to. It's once again, grit blues, and it does get a little funky towards the end. The last number, "Heat," sounds like an open-jam session, with focus on the drums, Burnside's south-styled vocals, and the guitar sounds just a little off at times, or maybe even the drums.

    R.L. Burnside's Come On In is not your typical blues album. It's not like an Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan; it's more compared to "down and dirty blues." Even more rougher than John Lee Hooker and/or Muddy Waters, it's blues in a more rougher-edged style. There are songs that are enjoyable to listen to, and some disturbing. "It's Bad You Know" and "Come On In" (Parts 1-3) are the standouts for enjoyable listening blues.

    Again, it's a different sound than the standard, typical blues, and it may just not be one of the best blues albums to rank highly of. Blues fan beware: You can Come On In, but enter at your own risk.

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    Previous Review: #763
    Tom T. Hall--Greatest Hits Volumes I And II
    Next Review: #765
    Fleetwood Mac--The Dance