JazzTimes (12/97, p.144) - "...the first album to document Burnside playing in an electric context....this album stakes out some strange, intriguing new territory..."
Personnel includes: R.L. Burnside (vocals, guitar); Joseph Burnside, Daniel Burnside (guitar, bass); Calvin Jackson (drums).
Engineers: Jerry Thompson, Bob Vinisky, Danny Wildman.
Recorded at Shoe Productions, Memphis, Tennessee on October 30, 1979 and at the Center or Southern Folklore, Memphis, Tennessee on July 22, 1979. Includes liner notes by David Evans.
Digitally remastered by Ian Marks.
Personnel: R.L. Burnside (vocals, guitar); Daniel Burnside, Joseph Burnside (guitar); Calvin Jackson (drums).
Liner Note Author: David Evans .
Recording information: Shoe Productions, Memphis (07/22/1980); The Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis (07/22/1980); Shoe Productions, Memphis (10/30/1979); The Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis (10/30/1979).
Photographers: Cheryl Thurber; Tom Wofford.
Singer/guitarist Burnside revitalized the hardcore blues scene in the '90s almost single-handedly, but he'd been performing in obscurity around Mississippi since the '50s. He made his first recordings in 1967, performing solo acoustic versions of traditional country blues. By the end of the '70s, he had gathered two sons and a son-in-law into a backing group called the Sound Machine, mixing Burnside's traditional sound with funk and R&B. The group was recorded for a French 1980 release, that remained domestically unavailable until this 1997 reissue.
The sound here is just as raw and uncompromising as Burnside's breakthrough Fat Possum recordings of the '90s, but not as aggressive or hard-hitting. His young cohorts sometimes sound a little tentative behind the elder statesman, as they shift from blues shuffles to funkier rhythms. R.L.'s guitar isn't quite as stinging as on later recordings, but his repetitive, hypnotic style is already firmly in place. On the more R&B-oriented tunes, like "Shake, Little Baby" and "Bad Luck City," R.L. sings and raps (not in the hip-hop sense of the word) over funky grooves, and fans of his Fat Possum albums may be taken aback. Nevertheless, SOUND MACHINE GROOVE is an interesting and important document of Burnside's development.