"Nothing you can say about David 'Junior' Kimbrough can prepare people for ... his music," says Anthony DeCurtis in the notes to Sunday Nights, Fat Possum Records' tribute to their fallen star. And it's true: Kimbrough's droning, stomping, Mississippi hill-country blues is one of America's most intensely personal and unique musical offerings.
Nothing on Iggy and the Stooges' "You Better Run Version #1" can even remotely nod towards Kimbrough's music. Nor Blues Explosion's "Meet Me in the City"; nor Thee Shams' "Release Me"; nor many of the tracks on Sunday Nights. They're not bad -- Thee Shams in particular have an invigorating '65 Stones thrill. But these are like Mel Gibson's Hamlet: a Junior Kimbrough action figure, lacking the patience, the darkness, the brooding that lay under Kimbrough's eight-hour-long juke-joint shuffles.
Some get it: Spiritualized makes something wholly its own of a distinctly Kimbrough "Sad Days Lonely Nights," and The Black Keys prove that the duo really can grind out those Sunday Night juke sessions when they want to. The world does need to hear Junior Kimbrough, one of this country's greatest musical enigmas. But perhaps a few of Sunday Nights' artists need to listen a little closer as well.