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Junior Kimbrough: Do The Rump!

The High Water Recording Company, a division of the University of Memphis, documented two diamonds in the rough back in the early ’80s. Those raw recordings have just been released (licensed by Oakland-based High Tone label). Junior Kimbrough’s Do The Rump! (High Water HMG 6503; 51:33) is a stripped down affair that comes directly out of the heart of Mississippi by way of Africa. The hypnotic power of these droning one-chord meditations by guitarist-vocalist Kimbrough, accompanied simply by bass and minimal drum kit (The Soul Blues Boys), borders on the purely psychedelic. The other Mississippi gem is R.L. Burnside, a guitarist who had developed a regional reputation in the ’60s as a solo acoustic country bluesman. Recorded in 1979 and 1980, Sound Machine Groove (High Water HMG 6501; 44:46) is the first album to document Burnside playing in an electric context. Backed by a band of sons and one son-in-law, this album stakes out some strange, intriguing new territory (like the wacky, disco-fied title track) while harkening back to Delta masters like Fred MacDowell and Lightning Hopkins, and also pays tribute to the fife and drum groups of Mississippi, as on an exceedingly stark, instrumental rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Sittin’ On Top Of The World.”

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