Fat Boys

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' Hoot Your Belly, Joe Callicott's Ain't a Gonna Lie to You and splendid Ohio blues-rock duo the Black Keys' Thickfreakness.

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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