East Side Slim
Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm – 2 Man
Delta Groove Music, Inc., 2008
Cedric Burnside and Steve “Lightnin’”
Malcolm are two young men doing their best to carry
on the rich traditions of the Mississippi Hill Country
Blues. Cedric Burnside comes by his love of the music
naturally, as he is the grandson of R.L. Burnside,
and the son of drummer Calvin Jackson (who played
drums behind R.L. for years.) Lightnin’ Malcolm
grew up near the railroad tracks in rural Southeast
Missouri and was bitten by the blues bug before he
even reached double-digits in age. By his early teens
he was sneaking into jukes and bars in order to hear
the blues. Eventually he moved to the Mississippi
Hill Country and completely immersed himself in the
music – and the lives – of the Kimbrough,
Burnside and Turner families.
Cedric and Lightnin’ perform as the 2 Man
Wrecking Crew, Cedric plays drums and sings, while
Lightnin’ plays guitar and sings. They are
both multi-instrumentalists, as they will switch
instruments occasionally during their lives show
and do switch on three tracks on this CD. No matter
who is playing what, you’ve got an instant
house party starter in this CD.
1. R.L. Burnside: This song is
Cedric’s tribute to his grandfather, Mr. R.L.
Burnside (well, well, well.) This is a slow, intense
Hill Country groover, with Cedric’s lyrics
detailing his life story and the influence “Big
Daddy” had on him.
So Much Love: Lightnin’ Malcolm takes
the lead vocals on this ultra-intense track, performed
very much in the style of Junior Kimbrough. This
sound on this tune is downright dangerous!
My Sweetheart: This is a much-too-short
tune, which as far as I’m concerned should
have stretched out to 5 minutes or so. It’s
nothing fancy, just a great groove and cool vocal
that gets right into your soul
Nobody Else: Malcolm takes the lead vocal
here, once again performing in the Kimbrough family
style – with incredible faithfulness, too.
It’s all power and groove. You have to truly
“feel” this type of music to play it
faithfully, and Lightnin’ Malcolm feels it
deep down into his soul.
Don’t Just Sing About The Blues:
This is one of Cedric’s tunes, which usually
follow in the Burnside family groove. Cedric is
a heck of a drummer – you have to see him
play in a live setting to truly appreciate how good
he is. Most of Cedric’s lyrics are biographical
in nature, as is the case here. He tells the listener
that he doesn’t just sing the blues –
he lives them every day!
That’s My Girl: Cedric’s having
trouble with his girl, but he still loves what that
woman can do to him back home in the wee hours.
The groove sounds simple and easy, but Cedric’s
hands and feet are all over his trap set.
She’s Got Somethin’ On Me:
Lightnin’ is on drums and Cedric is on guitar
here. This song is scaled way back, all the way
to the backwoods. Cedric is playing acoustic guitar
and Malcolm is keeping up a very simple, dirge-like
backbeat. As a bonus, Jason Ricci blows nice acoustic
harp on this cut. For those who don’t know,
Jason lived in the Hill Country early in his career,
absorbing the essence of the area’s music
(playing in Junior Kimbrough’s band), even
releasing a CD of juke joint-styled tunes. It’s
tough to find, but a lot of fun to listen to.
Fightin’: Next up – Lightnin’
Malcolm! This guy’s guitar style is raw and
righteous, and always dangerous. Cedric’s
groove is a killer! This track combines Kimbrough-style
menace with Burnside-style funkiness.
Stay Here In Your Arms: If the duo can
be said to play pretty, then this is the track that
shows it. While still raw, the song is very melodic
and has a gentle “nature” to it. Malcolm’s
got the vocal turn here, and he makes you believe
he is looking forward to getting home and holding
his woman again.
She Don’t Love Me No More: Here is
the 2nd track that features the Cedric/Malcolm instrumental
switch. Once again it features a heavy beat and
acoustic guitar, along with Jason Ricci blowing
incredible acoustic harp. It’s all acoustic,
but incredibly funky. It just shows that the groove
isn’t in the electricity; it in the souls
of the musicians.
World Full Of Trouble: Heavy, raw guitar,
polyrhythmic drumming, anguished vocals…everything
that makes me love Mississippi Hill Country blues!
And don’t forget the groove – its here,
too, no doubt about it.
Mad Man Blues: This is one of Cedric’s
tunes; it’s incredibly heavy electric blues.
Jason Ricci plays harp, but is heard more in an
atmospheric role than as a lead instrument. Lightnin’
riffs along until his solo break, then cuts loose…I
really thought my speakers were going to melt down
by the end of this track. I love this stuff!
Tryin’ Not To Pull My Gun: Well,
well, well…if the lyrics to this song of Cedric’s
are true, it might be best to never cross with the
man. He might not be large of stature, but he can
sure enough take care of his business.
Time To Let It Go: This is the set closer,
and is the 3rd (and last) of the tunes featuring the
Burnside/Malcolm instrumental switch. As usual, this
track maintains its groove even with the acoustic
instruments, and might just be the coolest song on
the entire CD – which is saying something as
this CD is full of great cuts.
The style of music featured on this album can be very
difficult to translate to CD, or any studio recording
for that matter. Heard in a juke or at a festival,
it can be almost transcendent. But when recorded,
it can suffer from lack of energy. That being said,
such is NOT the case here. This CD contains all the
raw power, grit, menace, groove and vitality of the
best of the Mississippi Hill Country musical style.
Big Daddy Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Othar Turner
would be proud of what these two young men have put
together. 2 Man Wrecking Crew – indeed! STLBluesometer
rating = 4.50 – this one is all good!
"East Side Slim"