There’s just a few days to go until The Black Keys drop their upcoming blues cover album Delta Kream on May 14th. Today, the duo is back to share one more single ahead of that release date. It’s called “Going Down South” and it sees the band paying tribute to the late great R.L. Burnside. Stream it below.
“Going Down South” is a bonafide blues rock classic, and it’s long been in rotation at The Black Keys’ live shows. Here, it gets a faithful studio recording that sees the band paying their respects to the person whose footsteps they unabashedly walk in, particularly by teaming up with some of Burnside’s old collaborators. They can be seen performing the song together in the song’s accompanying music video while snapshots of iconic southern spots — Blue Front Cafe, Aikei Pro’s record shop, Blues Alley in Holly Springs — flash by through a car window.
During an interview on Apple Music 1 with Zane Lowe, Dan Auerbach explained how this particular rendition of “Going Down South” came about. “I had a session here with Robert Finley and I invited these guys up, this one guy in particular, Kenny, who was the guitar player for R.L. Burnside. And he played on a ton of records that I love, Junior Kimbrough records, all kinds,” said Auerbach. “I also invited this guy named Eric Deaton. He’s a bass player, crazy good player. Hill country, he’s just like an encyclopedia with that kind of music, with hill country music in particular. And I invited him up, we had such a good time. I called Pat, I was like, ‘Man, you got to come over here, we got to just play a little bit for fun.’ Because I just figured he’d really liked Kenny. And a day and a half later, yeah, we have a record done.”
This is the second single The Black Keys have shared from Delta Kream so far, following their take on John Lee Hooker’s 1949 hit “Crawling Kingsnake”. Both tracks make it clear that The Black Keys not only wanted to pay homage to the Mississippi Hill Country blues tradition that influenced them in their early days, but to also introduce a younger generation to blues icons they may not know about, like Ranie Burnette and David Kimbrough, Jr.
Pre-orders for Delta Kream are currently ongoing. It serves as The Black Keys’ follow-up to 2019’s Let’s Rock and their special 10th anniversary deluxe edition of Brothers that hit shelves late last year.