In this video you will see nothing of R.L. Burnside and his band as the whole video depicts the motorcycle racing and antics of the ‘Hell Drivers’ – for reasons that elude me. Nostalgic bikers may well enjoy this though.
This is a masterpiece of entrancing understatement with minimalistic lyrics, a haunting harmonica, an ever-present rasping washboard, occasional Hammond organ (happy to be corrected on this point) and a driving, monotonic bass-line which enhances the mysterious vibes of this unusual song.
It is reminiscent of North Mississippi hill country blues.
Burnside was born in 1926 in Mississippi and later moved to Chicago where he met up with his cousin-in-law Muddy Waters but, according to Wikipedia, within that year his father, two brothers and two uncles were all murdered there.
He learned guitar from his next door neighbour Mississippi Fred McDowell and remained largely unknown for much of his musical career until this track was picked up and used in one episode of the hit TV series The Sopranos. Sadly, R.L. Burnside died just a few years later in 2005.