Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Case File #4: "Snake Drive"

R.L. Burnside
"Snake Drive"
Mr. Wizard

The need to know: With an intermittent recording career dating back to the late 1960s, it wasn't until he signed to Fat Possum Records (the current home of The Black Lips, Andrew Bird and Wavves) several decades later that R.L. Burnside would get his due. The Mississippi native caught the attention of the indie rock set in the late 90s through collaborations with Jon Spencer (of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, amongst other projects) and proceeded to release compilations of his early recordings as well as new, studio records into the 2000s. He passed away in 2005. 

Why it's worthy: Burnside's electric charged country and Delta blues are nothin' to sneeze at, and "Snake Drive" is the pennacle to 1997's Mr. Wizard. Slurred lyrics and searing guitar squeals meander along this near 7-minute jam, while a rhythmic riff keeps the tune from devolving into a messy ramble. I first heard this song as a teenager (my dad caught one of Burnside's shows. NOT fair.), and the repetition hooked me. I still can't stay away for long.

Where you've heard it: The original, and much shorter, version of "Snake Drive" appears on the 1996 Jon Spencer appearing A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey.

Get obsessed:

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