Playin' Possum

An elderly gang of seedy Mississippi bluesmen anchors Fat Possum Records and the label's documentary

You Can See Me Laughin' is a good place to begin for the Fat Possum novice. Those moving on to CDs should check out Burnside's First Recordings and Mississippi Hill Country Blues, Ford's You Better Keep Still, Jimmy Lee Williams's Hoot Your Belly, Joe Callicott's Ain't a Gonna Lie to You and splendid Ohio blues-rock duo the Black Keys' Thickfreakness.

R.L. Burnside: A pure guy corrupted by Fat Possum's 
Johnson.
R.L. Burnside: A pure guy corrupted by Fat Possum's Johnson.
Junior Kimbrough: Fat Possum's Matthew Johnson 
used to pay $2 covers to see him.
Junior Kimbrough: Fat Possum's Matthew Johnson used to pay $2 covers to see him.

Fat Possum has suffered bankruptcy, loads of legal trouble, years of debt and a recent unhappy separation from punk label Epitaph, its former joint-venture partner, that has led to a pending lawsuit (no comment from either side). "We're still here," Johnson says. "Survival is triumph. We don't have a swimming pool or anything like that. But business isn't abysmal. I've run it up to a million in the hole before. I guess now it's better than it's ever been."

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