Essential New Music: R.L. Boyce’s “Roll And Tumble”

Como, Miss.’s R.L. Boyce delivers in droves with “the most important, honest to God Hill Country blues record made since R.L. Burnside’s A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey,” to quote the great Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars). If anyone is fit to tell us what is or isn’t a Mississippi Hill Country record, it’s Mr. Dickinson, who wore the producer hat for this gem of a record. Roll And Tumble is a lesson in bona fide boogie, straight from the source where R.L. learned his chops from Fred McDowell, the aforementioned Burnside, the whimsical Otha Turner and, perhaps most important, the perpetual thump of the great Jessie Mae Hemphill, the original She-Wolf. If you can’t smell and taste the corn whiskey, feel the ever-humid heat and get your ass to moving, check your pulse. R.L. Boyce is bad, a living time capsule of endless one-chord perfection. Consider this a lesson of the purest form of music in our great American sonic landscape.

Scott Zuppardo