Review Summary: An old man with less teeth then hair, a portly gut and the face of a demented rodent makes a sexier, catchier blues record then Gary Clarke Jr.
The blues is a confusing and touchy form of music. It is simple yet complex, soulful yet mechanical, depressing yet uplifting. When it's done right, it can be incredibly touching and/or irresistably dancable (depending on the arrangement). When it's done even slightly wrong it can be incredibly tepid and stale. The main reason blues fans were attracted to the late R.L. Burnside in the mid 90's-early 2K's was because he represented a primitive edge that was lost amongst the slicked-up guitar hero bluesmen of the previous 2 1/2 decades. In his old age, he along with the help of Fat Possum Records stirred up the no-bull*** spirit of the tired genre, throwing up a big black liver-spotted middle finger to the clean-cut guitar fetishists who polluted a style of music meant for dancing away your aches and pains rather then jacking off your stratocaster.
One of the most notable and definitly most controversial aspect of R.L.'s career was his cooperation with Fat Possum to remix his material into crossover dance tracks. On 'A Bothered Mind', his last album, this style is perfected. Blending thick, funky bass with boom-bap rythems and the occasional Hip-Hop guest feature, it is easy to see why some purists would write this off as a laughable cash-in experiment. But if you get past the fact that your listening to a man old enough to be your grandpa singing alongside Kid Rock and Lyrics Born, you will find that this album places the blues exactly where it started= On the dancefloor. Also with the hip-hop tinged production and remixed arrangements it delivers a refreshingly accessable and engaging listen that you can enjoy by yourself at home or at a party full of 20-somethings and still feel at home with it.
Highlights such as "Shake Em On Down" and "Someday Baby" contain such catchiness that they can stay in your head for days. "Bird Without A Feather" (known for being featured in the 2006 drama Black Snake Moan) is a rootsy, delta-style track. Just R.L. and his guitar, singing with hauntingly emotional conviction. Only one song, "My Name Is Robert Too", comes off kind of corny. Mainly because of Kid Rock singing in a cock-rock fashion on the unmemorable chorus, and R.L.s mumbling input. The rest of the album is a grade-A modern-day boogie extravaganza.
Altogether, this album is a keeper, and I highly recommend it to blues fans who dont need a lot of flashy guitar heroics in thier music and just need something refreshing yet also good to dance to. If that is the case, this is your Gatorade. Drink up, bitch.