Cedric Burnside + Lightnin’ Malcolm

Juke Joint Duo | Soul Is Cheap
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  August 29, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
Cedric Burnside

After a flirtation with hip-hop, R.L. Burnside’s drummer and grandson Cedric has teamed with former Jimbo Mathus guitar sideman Lightnin’ Malcolm to return to exciting, raw-boned blues. Their Juke Joint Duo is a potent little machine driven by Burnside’s commanding drumming and Malcolm’s ragged-ass virtuosity. On his own “Let’s Come Together,” Malcolm evokes Junior Kimbrough’s hypnotic magic, drawling lustful lyrics over a snaking melody. Burnside’s also a fine singer, and hard-luck stories like “I Don’t Just Sing About the Blues” echo his grandpa’s hearty stomps. “Fire It Up” is the most fun: its “blunt” narrative, with the chanted chorus “I like to get blazed,” chronicles Burnside’s weedy adventures. The duo also kick up their own streamlined brand of Memphis funk. This is a solid debut, but live and loud, as they were at My Brother’s juke joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi, a few weekends back, they’re like a gritty elixir of moonshine and thunder.
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