R.L. Burnside: Total Badass

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R.L. Burnside spent most of his life in the hills of Northern Mississippi as a sharecropper.  In the late 1950’s, he went to Chicago to give city life a crack.  “Within a month his father, brother and uncle were all killed in the city.”   In 1959, Burnside himself was convicted of murder.  He would serve six months in prison for his crime.  Evidently Burnside’s employer has some clout with the judge and managed to reduce his sentence.  Burnside, to this day, maintains the killing was in self defense despite shooting the man in the back of the head.  “I didn’t mean to kill nobody,” Burnside said. “I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord.”

Burnside came to national prominence in the 1990’s after being signed by the Fat Possum label.  He would go on to tour the world with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Junior Kimbrough among others.  Samuel L. Jackson is said to have modelled his character in Black Snake Moan off Burnside.  He died in 2005 at the age of 78.  He was survived by his wife and 14 children, not to mention 67 grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

(Sources: Wikipedia and this interview)

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One Response to “R.L. Burnside: Total Badass”

  1. PGW Says:

    check out his album A Ass Pocket of Whiskey…classic

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