The Revered Peyton’s Big Damn Band
3 out of 5 stars
There’s not a lot of sonic difference between the rugged backwoods blues/boogie of Rev and his backing duo on So Delicious!, the outfit’s fifth album, compared to the four that preceded it. Look no further than songs titled “Front Porch Trained,” “Dirt,” “Hell Naw,” “Pot Roast and Kisses” and the self-explanatory “Raise a Little Hell” to realize that his new affiliation with the decidedly retro blues Yazoo imprint has only deepened the act’s dedication to hard core roots blues and booze drenched music.
Despite the addition of both the Raise a Little Hell Children’s Choir and the Brown County All Star Choir on two tracks, wild man acoustic guitarist Rev., his washboard/percussion/singing wife Breezy and drummer (and bucket player) Ben Bussell keep it stripped down and real, forgoing anything as extravagant as bass for an earthy, unvarnished, authentic vibe that stays true to pre-war bluesmen such as Blind Willie McTell, Bukka White and Charley Patton that clearly inspired them. On “We Live Dangerous” the group feeds John Lee Hooker’s dark country boogie through their own sensibilities resulting in a grimy, high octane rocker closer to the Cramps than Canned Heat. Peyton’s barking, lecherous, whiskeyed vocals recall a more blues drenched version of Black Oak Arkansas’ Jim Dandy and even the few ballads that sneak in such as the slide guitar enhanced “You’re Not Rich” reverberate with a growling yet homey charm.
Perhaps the most obvious growth in the band’s sound is Peyton’s impressive guitar work that often seems like more than one set of hands working the strings. That’s especially true on the adrenalized riffs incorporated into “Raise a Little Hell” where he gives typically frenzied bluegrass pickers a run for their money.
Even if this raw boogie based picking isn’t in your sweet spot, you have to admire Rev. Peyton and his “big damn band” for sticking to their ideological and inspirational guns, touring almost nonstop for over a decade while continuously improving their barnstorming approach.