Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm
2 Man Wrecking Crew
ESSENTIAL "Fightin' "
If there was any doubt about the inspiration for this debut, it's dispelled in the album's first track, an ode to legendary Delta bluesman R.L. Burnside. Working in memory of the electric gut-bucket blues of Big Daddy, drummer Cedric's granddad, this Mississippi duo casts its own heady spell of juke-joint blues stripped down to the fuzz and guts. Schooled in supporting roles for R.L., Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, Otha Turner, Hubert Sumlin, and others, the young Burnside and guitarist Lightnin' Malcolm add a wonderfully ragged and Hendrix-like rhythmic crunch to the entrancing circular moans of their Hill Country blues teachers. A few of the disc's 14 tracks occasionally lean toward generic boogie; only the duo's authentic grit keeps "Don't Just Sing About the Blues" from sliding into ordinary. But most of the album, produced by David Z (Prince, B.B. King), pulses and sparks, drawling with a just-modern-enough buzz of intensity. The rolling stomp of "World Full of Trouble" and classic, low-key soul of "She's Got Something on Me" would make Big Daddy proud. (Out now) - TRISTRAM LOZAW