The Black Keys shared a cover of R.L. Burnside’s 1969 blues classic “Goin’ Down South” along with a new music video. It’s the second song they’ve shared from their upcoming covers album Delta Kream following a version of John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling Kingsnake.”
The duo updated the original’s production and turned the formerly stripped-down blues song into a blues rock jam. Official members Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are joined by a full band, with an additional percussionist, additional electric guitarist, a bassist and some light tracked-in organs near the end. Auerbach played lead guitar and sang the vocal part in falsetto.
He stated, “That was one of R.L. Burnside’s hits! We strayed a little from the original on our version with the falsetto and percussion, but we liked how it sounded in that moment. It’s become one of my favorites on the album.”
The music video was directed by Ryan Nadzam, who captured footage of several historic locations throughout Hill Country, northern Mississippi, which is the blues scene that The Black Keys are paying tribute to on Delta Kream. The first location Nadzam shows is Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, MS, which was founded in 1948, making it the oldest juke joint in America. It’s still owned and operated by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, the son of the original owner.
Other locations include Como, MS, the town that the scene’s key pioneer Mississippi Fred McDowell called his home, the Chulahoma Community, The Burnside Palace, the Aikei Pro record shop, Blues Alley in Junior Kimbrough’s hometown Holly Springs, The Hut in Holly Springs where the Junior Kimbrough Cotton Patch Blues Music Festival takes place and James “T Model” Ford’s home on Nelson Street in Greenville, MS.
Delta Kream is due next Friday, May 14 via Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label, which recently announced a worldwide partnership with Concord. It’s also available for physical pre-order via Nonesuch Records. It will be the duo’s ninth studio album, following 2019’s “Let’s Rock”. The Black Keys were also recently announced as headliners for 2021’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, TN.
Auerbach stated of the full album, “We made this record to honor the Mississippi hill country blues tradition that influenced us starting out. These songs are still as important to us today as they were the first day Pat and I started playing together and picked up our instruments. It was a very inspiring session with Pat and me along with Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton in a circle, playing these songs. It felt so natural.”
Photo credit: Brett Padelford