Blues Bytes

Pick Hit

September 2015

an associate

Order this CD today

Jimmy Burns
It Ain't Right
Delmark Records

Jimmy Burns

Jimmy Burns’ brand of blues has always been distinctive, mixing the downhome traditional blues sound of his native Mississippi with vintage Chicago soul (he recorded some classic 45s in the late ’60s) and gospel music (which he performed as a teenager with the Medallionaires). Since his reemergence into the music on a fulltime basis in the ’90s, Burns has established himself as one of the finest vocalist in the Windy City, and the blues genre itself.

The bulk of Burns’ recordings since his comeback have been with Delmark Records, and his latest album, It Ain’t Right, finds him back with the label. Backed by his longtime regular band (guitarist Anthony Palmer, bassist Eric McDaniel, and drummer Bryant Parker), Burns is also joined by Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi (of Billy Branch’s band) on piano and Roosevelt “Mad Hatter” Purifoy on organ, and a powerhouse horn section on several of the tracks. With Delmark’s indispensable Steve Wagner behind the controls and Dick Shurman in the producer’s seat, all the ingredients are in place for Burns’ best recording to date

It Ain’t Right offers a hearty 15 tracks, consisting of mostly covers with the exception of the two opening tracks, the shuffle “Big Money Problem” and the terrific soul ballad “Will I Ever Find Somebody?,” both of which were penned by guitarist Billy Flynn. The covers include songs from Percy Mayfield (“Long As You’re Mine” and “My Heart Is Hangin’ Heavy”), Goree Carter (“Rock Awhile”), the 5 Royales (“Crazy Crazy Crazy”), Jimmy Reed (“A String To Your Heart,” with Burns playing harmonica), and Burns’ late brother Eddie (“Hard Hearted Woman”).

I really like Burns’ version of “Snaggletooth Mule,” a funky remake of the obscure Bobby Stone track, “Hoodoo Man,” and his upbeat take on “Stand By Me,” a bandstand favorite that his fans have wanted him to record for years. The jumping version of “Surrounded” is top notch as well, as is Larry Williams’ “I Know You Hear Me Calling.” The horns (Marques Carroll – trumpet, Chris Neal – tenor sax, Aaron Getsug – baritone sax) feature prominently on both of these tracks. The title track is a rollicking version of the Little Walter classic.

When I saw that Burns was covering “Messin’ With The Kid,” I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued. I wasn’t sure what he would be able to add to the song since Junior Wells basically owned it for years. He transforms it into a simmering funky slow blues and it’s pretty much a new song as a result. Finally, Burns revisits his gospel roots with an inspired reading of “Wade In The Water.”

Burns sounds fantastic on these tunes, and the band is excellent in support. The horn section is great when called up, and Ariyo’s piano work is immaculate throughout. As stated above, It Ain’t Right is Jimmy Burns’ best release, an irresistible mix of downhome and urban blues with soul and gospel that should be in every blues fan’s collection.

--- Graham Clarke
Read Graham's blog



[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL...
Revised: September 17, 2015 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2015, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.