"R. L. Burnside" (born "Robert Lee Burnside", Harmontown, Lafayette County, Mississippi, November 21 or November 23, 1926; d. Memphis, Tennessee, September 1, 2005) was a blues singer, songwriter and guitarist who lived much of his life in and around Holly Springs, Mississippi.
R. L. Burnside
He played music for much of his life, but did not receive much attention until the early 1990s.
Burnside spent most of his life in the rural hill country of northern Mississippi, working as a sharecropper and a commercial fisherman, as well as playing guitar at weekend house parties. He was first inspired to pick up the guitar in his early twenties, after hearing the 1948 John Lee Hooker single "Boogie Chillen" (which inspired numerous other rural bluesmen, among them Buddy Guy, to start playing). He learned music largely from Mississippi Fred McDowell, who lived nearby in an adjoining county. He also cited his cousin-in-law, Muddy Waters, as an influence.
During the 1950s Burnside moved to Chicago where a number of members of his family were murdered; after these killings Burnside returned to his home state. Burnside claimed to have been convicted for murder and sentenced to six months...