Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm
2 Man Wrecking Crew

Delta Groove Music, DGP CD127

By Art Tipaldi
March 2009

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Last May, Delta Groove Music booked a 12-hour showcase at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. As the label’s mainstay acts held the stage inside, they also build a smaller stage in the parking lot for local acts.

One such act was Lightnin’ Malcolm and Cedric Burnside. It took Delta Groove owner Rand Chortkopf about 10 minutes to realize this act needed to be signed. Thus, in typical Delta Groove fashion, they were signed and ready to release their debut within six months.

This two man wrecking crew is Malcolm on guitars and vocals, and Cedric Burnside on drums and vocals. Both come with complete North Mississippi blues pedigrees. While Malcolm has traveled the roads of Mississippi with the North Mississippi Allstars, Kenny Brown and the Kimbroughs; Cedric has traveled the world as the flamboyant drummer behind his grandfather, the great Mississippi blues man R.L. Burnside.

Together, they recreate the hill country sound, but with an explosive futuristic twist.

The disc opens with Cedric’s “R.L. Burnside,” a tribute to the drum kit from Big Daddy that, at 6, set Cedric on his musical path. Bathed in feedback and juke joint reverb, “So Much Love,” by Malcolm, follows. “My Sweetheart,” written together, has Junior Kimbrough’s style throughout.

From there, the record’s 11 other tunes are as intense as tightly clenched teeth. There are acoustic, living room styled tunes such as “She’s got Something On Me,” with Bekka Bramlett singing back-up, and harp wizard Jason Ricci throwin’ out harmonica darts. There are “Smokestack Lightnin’” styled cuts such as the stripped down “Mad Man Blues”.

The record ends with “Time To Let It Go,” a tune that one might hear in the living room of a Como, Mississippi house party.

With Burnside playing his drum kit like as if it was a lead instrument and Malcolm twisting and distorting his raunchy guitar, these two are tearing down blues walls around the world.




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