Learning From R. L. Burnside - Holly Springs, MS
_In the late '60s the record label Arhoolie issued 'Mississippi Delta Blues Vol. 2. It was from this album that I had my first exposure to RL Burnside. His song 'Poor Black Mattie' captivated me. I had never heard such a percussive style of playing the guitar before. It actually sounded as if there was a 'slapping' involved in his playing, but for the life of me I couldn't figure it out from the record alone. So I figured the next best thing was to visit him at his home in Holly Springs MS and take a few lessons.
RL started learning how to play the guitar from other Delta musicians such as Fred McDowell who lived nearby. Later on as he became more accomplished he started to play local fish fries and country supper parties. "Me and my brother in law would sometimes stay up till 2 in the morning playing. We'd play for 5 dollars and a bottle of whiskey. My wife would get mad at me 'cause I had to get up for work the next morning. Pick that cotton you know."
Below is a picture of the whole Burnside family.