Juke Joint Duo helps bring music to Los Alamos

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Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm will perform at the Blue Window Bistro

By Russ Gordon

There hasn’t been a concert in Los Alamos since Aug. 27 and it’s been too long. However, there will be a Summer Concert fundraiser show Friday at the Blue Window Bistro starring the Juke Joint Duo, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.
They play the music of the Mississippi Delta and electrified hill country blues.
Before World War II and before such blues superstars like Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker moved north to Chicago, Detroit and other American northern industrial cities, there was rural southern blues.
A lot of musicians made their own guitars such as the diddley bow and a washtub bass. Add to that anything that you can bang on for percussion and you’ve got a band. Even in the 1960s and 1970s, a lot of poor Southerners didn’t have radios or television.
Burnside tells of being raised by his mother and grandfather, R.L. Burnside in Holly Springs, Miss.
“My granddad used to play out on the porch and we had house parties every weekend. Johnny Woods would come over and blow harmonica and he’d drink two or three gallons of corn liquor. We just jumped up the dirt.”
Beginning at age 3, Burnside played drums for his grandfather during these parties.
R.L. became a big star in the early 1990’s playing what some called “underground punk blues.” Cedric, the drummer, and Lightnin’ Malcolm played and toured with R.L.  and Junior Kimbrough — a man who in his 70s could out-Zeppelin any rock band.
They played with T-Model Ford who is the only man convicted of murder to play on the Summer Concert stage.
They played with blues legends like Otha Turner, Hubert Sumlin and Bobby Rush as well as rockers, Widespread Panic and the North Mississippi All-Stars.
In 2009, the Juke Joint Duo won the “Best New Artist Award” from the Blues Hall of Fame. Burnside and Malcolm have a minimalist sound that now is similar to the big-time rock and roll duo acts, the White Stripes and the Black Keys.
 Malcolm is from the small town of Burgess, Mo.
He heard Muddy Waters’ records at his parents’ parties in the 60s and he decided then to become a blues guitarist. As a teenager he began playing with R.L. He’s been on the road with Cedric ever since.
They’re playing the Blue Window Bistro (across from Smith’s) on Friday and then the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival on Saturday and Sunday. An article published in the Boston Phoenix says, “... live and loud, they’re like a gritty elixir of moonshine and thunder.”
Advance tickets are on sale at the Blue Window for $12. Tickets at the door are $15. The show is a fundraiser for the 2011 LA County Summer Concert Series.