Our shop namesake is Junior Kimbrough. Kimbrough’s gravestone reads “Junior Kimbrough is the beginning and end of all music.” The quote is credited to rockabilly legend, Charlie Feathers. Feathers learned guitar from Junior as a kid growing up in Mississippi.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Junior’s album Most Things Haven’t Worked Out, which was originally released in 1997. The album features Gary Burnside on bass, Kenny Malone on drums, Kenny Brown on guitar, and of course, Junior playing lead guitar and singing. The album cover features the stellar photo by Bill Steber.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Most Things…, Fat Possum Records–based right here in Oxford–has pressed up 500 copies on red/black color vinyl. ROTM Club members will be getting a copy! We’ll be shipping these out next week before Record Store Day.
Three of the tracks were recorded directly from Junior Kimbrough’s Juke Joint in Chulahoma, Mississippi. The sound here is absolutely raw; it’s a perfect evocation of live performance. Indeed, half the fascination in Kimbrough’s works are the strange harmonics, “off” notes, and just sheer noise that gives a murky depth to his repetitive looping around a song’s tonic note. Even the lyrics are often buried beneath layers of blues grunge, but it hardly matters — the whole album qualifies as a liminal, half-waking Mississippi dream. Highlights include the hypnotic “I’m in Love,” and the stomping “Burn in Hell,” which Kimbrough introduces by ribbing a bandmate: “If I die before you, I go before you, I’m gonna be there to open the door — come on in, brother!” With less than a year left to live, Kimbrough could still laugh at eternity.
Check out this legendary groove from the b-side of the album: