The Burns Brothers are a refreshing rediscovery. Like most living legends, Eddie “Snake Eyes” Burns has never stopped performing. The Detroit native is still very active in the Motor City, blending Delta musings with the “uptown” Hastings Street stylings of his old friend, the late John Lee Hooker.
Burns’ tough-yet-mellow vocal styling, and his sparse-but-stinging guitar rendering represent the perfect vehicle for this fully realized musical personality. Twelve of the 15 cuts on “Snake Eyes” are composed by Eddie, and the three interpretive cuts, including a wonderful remake of Memphis Slim’s “Lend Me Your Love,” have an identity that is uniquely Burns.
An intensely proud man, this energetic 74-year-old is testimony to the longevity you can maintain when you’re focused and doing the music you love. He is still vital and intense, yet relaxed.
Snake Eyes’ version of “Your Cash Ain’t Nothing But Trash” says it all. “It ain’t the money,” he says. “It’s about that feeling you get when everybody’s having a good time.”
Hastings Street is long gone, but with Burns’ Snake Eyes, you be right back there at Henry’s Swing Club waitin’ for John Lee to walk in and announce, “Yeah people, we’s really havin’ a ball.” Sho nuff!
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.