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Burnett & Rutherford (Document DOCD-8025)


Raucous fiddle & slapped-down chordal guitar/banjo - not to mention nasally-driven vocals that kick-arse like a bad-tempered mule - yes, it’s Burnett & Rutherford...one of the finest duos from the (very) richest era of Southern string-band music. And this - folks - is their complete recorded works....which you (truly) oughtta hear. But...to be sure, this is no album - configured for your listening pleasure. However, you’ll never hear such elsewhere...and (should you want), you can easily pull an album’s-worth of dynamite from this set - cause, there’s well over 70 minutes herein...and, most of it’s truly lean & mean...

The opener - “Lost John” - is one of the finest introductions to this kinda material you could ever wish for - getting (as it does) harder/faster throughout; until...it nigh-on dissolves into a welter of acceleration. And, that’s merely the beginning of the treasures to be found in this collection... Still, there’s also a bunch of nasally-mournful cuts here...however, there’s (also) no doubt that these’re clearly outnumbered by their up-tempo counterparts - and, it’s the latter that I’m (mainly) wanting to sell you on.

And, if you wanna sample same, at its peak - just try the third (six track) session herein...cause that’s the veritable peak of Burnett & Rutherford’s art (accompanied here, as they were, by the great Byrd Moore on guitar). Earlier, they’d been more pressured - to judge by what we can gather from field-recorders’ interviews - to produce “obviously” “original” material... But now, here - and, given an earlier hit - they’d (finally) been freed to cut their very best work...albeit much had already been waxed by their competitors...

The result - given Burnett & Rutherford’s undoubted skills - was some kinda masterpiece... To be sure, all the songs were old, but - truly - that (really) should’ve been unexpected from such skilled songsters. However, what we couldn’t - necessarily - expect was the very best fiddle/banjo train impersonations on record, not to mention their brilliantly-fresh take upon the archaic “Willie Moore”...nor, their unique approach to “All Night Long Bues” - perhaps the finest (and most original) take on formative-era blues... Because...and, let’s have no mistake about this - formative-era “blues” was deeply indebted to “white” forms - and, so (consequentially), much of the crucial material anyone seriously interested in said form truly “needs” to hear is - to be frank - early “white” recordings...and, therefore - to be blunt - the rest of you can damn-well fuck-off...given the racists you (so clearly) are...

Me...I have no doubt that the tradition I so love is mainly Afro-American...nor that overtly Afro-American’s have been - mainly - the crucial players in its development, but...I’ll be damned if I’ll let - at this (late) stage in my researches - ideology trump truth...as, no doubt, you’ll all (perhaps) eventually agree...

Meanwhile (of course), you’ll merely content yourself w/Burnett & Rutherford’s complete works - as I’ve suggested - and (perhaps) suggest, to yourselves, some “new” paths...eh?




John Henry Calvinist