Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - The Whole Fam Damnily

Stifle the yawn n’ yell, lay yours hands on, holler n’ join the throng. In the overpopulated realms of revival blues and those rockabilly and garage bands with the brass neck, if not brass slide, to apply the reverend tag to their sorry behinds this real old time street corner hollerin’ truly is as authentic as can be, not least with this reverend actually being one, like Blind Willie Johnson. They even recorded this album in a church just down the road from their home. This family trio hail and hoover up a lot of miles from right outta rural Indiana (Brown County, pop. 832), having sold all their worldly possessions and packed up for life on the boards and in boarding houses, with the main man ministering through Resonator and slide, wifey Breezy on washboard and brother Jayme on drums. There’s absolutely no reason to suspect otherwise and even if they have constructed a whole new facade like the White Stripes then on the strength of this colossal onslaught it doesn’t matter a spilt drip. Having been adopted by several different musical sects since meeting Celt-punks Flogging Molly, ultimately resulting in them signing with this indie and punk label, this is the sort of blues unrecognisable to the slick stylists that clutter the boards of that circuit. It isn’t too hard to discern their attraction to punks and rockabillys either, with the rollicking 2/4 rhythms and accounts of everyday double troubles. Drawing from deeper wells of country blues, the exquisite John Hughes shows he can make that slide weep and sing like Blind Boy Fuller and the lovely lilting Worn Out Shoe and Them Old Days Are Gone may well make you follow his slide, being liberally dappled with divine melodies. The fervent picking is irresistible, being insatiably high, mighty and graciously garrulous throughout, meriting his avowed influence of those diabolical old fire-sliders like Son House. His vocal tones, from garbled guttural invocations, especially on What’s Mine Is Yours, to plaintive howls and growls unaffectedly reminiscent of Charley Patton or even Blind Lemon Jefferson, convey the tangible sense of hope in these modern day universal themes wrapped n’ wrigglin’ in Can’t Pay The Bill (too poor to be ill), DT’s Or The Devil, Wal-Mart Killed The Country Store, Why Is Everybody Getting Paid But Me, The Creeks Are All Bad (polluted streams) and Your Cousin’s On Cops which follows the authentic truck by being written following the rev. seeing his wife’s relative on said show. It also initially brought out Cartman syndrome as it also sounds like he’s calmly relating the news that ‘Your cousin’s on fire’. Incidentally, for a further instance of a nice downhome touch, look no farther than the inclusion of a recipe for persimmon pudding, handed down through generations of Peyton’s and saluted in closing Persimmon Song. These are brilliant litanies for the desperation in any and every congregation and, as the saying goes, essential listening, so listen in.
Stu Gibson
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