Delmark has recently issued this latest album, Snake Eyes, by another under recorded blues veteran, Eddie Burns. Burns is a veteran of the Detroit blues scene, including playing with John Lee Hooker on a number of Hooker’s finest band recordings. He shares some influences with Hooker including Tommy McLennan, but in addition to being a fine rhythmic guitarist he is a capable harmonica player indebted to John Lee ‘Sonny Boy' Williamson.
Delmark, which has issued a couple of albums by his younger brother Jimmy. On Snake Eyes, Eddie Burns is joined by brother Jimmy on guitar along with pianist Roosevelt Purifoy, bassist Nick Charles (brother of Magic Slim) and drummer Larry Taylor in an album of postwar ensemble blues. Playing both acoustic guitar as well as electric guitar and harmonica, Burns’ simple, effective playing and his straightforward plaintive singing result in delightful traditionally oriented blues.
There are echoes of classic Muddy Waters’ stop-time grooves on Night Shift, while the rollicking Papa Likes to Boogie evidences the influence of Williamson. A spirited remake of the Drifters’ Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash, is joined by a tasteful cover of Memphis Slim’s Lend Me Your Love. wile Going to New Orleans is similar to recordings by Otis Spann and Lonnie Johnson. The two Burns play acoustic guitars on the shuffle Treat Me Like I Treat You.
The backing band is wonderful, and with Burns’ honest and heartfelt performances, Snake Eyes is a gem.
I probably received a review copy from Delmark and I have made some minor stylistic edits. Nick Charles is not Nick Holt, who was Magic Slim's brother, but a different person. Thanks to the members of the Facebook group, The Real Blues Forum, for pointing this error. Also on that forum was a suggestion that Burns harmonica with John Lee Hooker in 1949 (the Burnin' Hell session) may have been the first recording of amplified harmonica on record.