Junior Kimbrough You Better Run (The Essential)

It may seem redundant to put out a Junior Kimbrough greatest hits collection, since the recently departed Mississippi blues man sang basically one song. But his was the most primitive of blues, more mesmerising than his fellow '90s discovery R.L. Burnside, and despite being electrified, Kimbrough seemed more closely in touch with the music's African roots than any blues artist who has ever recorded. While Burnside seems to naturally have a wider perspective on the music, Kimbrough's sound preserved the Delta aesthetic in its purest form, and his loss may have also severed our final connection to it. However, it will forever be there in his "signature" tune, "All Night Long," a single, driving riff augmented by Kimbrough wailing in the voice of his baby, "Junior I love you," as if she's in prison, in another country, or another century. This isn't blues they use in beer commercials. It can be chilling stuff if you open yourself up to it, especially the title track - Junior's instructions to a woman in case she's raped. But it's important to remember that Kimbrough's fame was largely derived from his weekly gigs at his own juke joint, a ritual that occurred right up until his death. Most of these tracks were recorded there, so it's easy to imagine what raucous nights they must have been. This was dance music after all, and while most songs are built on the same riff, it's a monumental one; one that has powered rock and roll since its creation. Whether Kimbrough realised this or not doesn't matter, he was an original, and You Better Run stands as a testament to his simple brilliance. (Borealis)