R.L. Burnside – Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down

Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down

R.L. BurnsideWish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down Fat Possum 80332-2 (2000)

A “producer” album that pairs R.L. Burnside’s weary blues with trip hop electronics.  It actually works on a few songs, notably the opener “Hard Time Killing Floor” plus “Bad Luck City.”  It really is a bizarre pairing.  When this first came out it was so far removed from Burnside’s usual stuff — though he had dabbled with electronics prior to this album — that I hated it.  Looking back more than a decade and a half later, it clearly has its merits, mainly in the way it presents Burnside in a bleak and hazy urban setting.  But at the same time the electronics are a little lazy.  The repetitive riffing of Burnside’s hill country blues might seem to call for repetitive electronic beats, but that turns out to not be the case.  Burnside was in somewhat failing health when this album was made, so he sings but doesn’t play guitar.  There is nothing essential here, but this is passable stuff for the most part.