Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band DANCE SONGS FOR HARD TIMES

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Dance Songs for Hard Times
Family Owned Records

The Sound of the New Blues – Best Served Live and Loud!

My first encounter with the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band was a few years back at the rear of the Clubhouse Hotel in Kilkenny, where the band were doing a frantic last-minute ‘load in’ after their flights from the US had been severely delayed.
Rather than give up after missing their timetabled slots, they just had their gigs moved and they honoured their responsibilities with a fiery energy that belied their inevitable jetlag.
That same energy is ever-present, on this, their latest release; which follows in a tradition of three piece bands with a big sound; from the Crickets through to ZZ Top and beyond.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band deliver an album of enthusiastic rhythm and, it should be noted …. Blues.
Opener “Ways and Means” has a Howlin’ Wolf meets ZZ Top vibe, underscored by Washboard Breezy’s ‘trademark’ old school washboard.
“Rattle Can” adds a Punk attitude and is reminiscent of a more serious Mojo Nixon, whereas “Dirty Hustlin’” is a much more sedate but still, insistently grinding groove.
As their titles suggest, “I’ll Pick You Up” and “Too Cool to Dance” are both dancefloor pleasers – somewhat ironically in the case of the latter’s lyrical content.
The most laid back and reflective track on the album comes midway in the shape of “No Tellin’ When” which evokes the spirit of early blues in both sentiment and feel.
“Sad Songs” engages gospel-like backing and makes a good case for the Reverend to become the new singer in AC/DC should Brian Johnston decide to hand over the vocal reins.
“Crime to Be Poor” opens with fuzztone harmonica and then stomps its way angrily through an anti-austerity rant.
“Til we die” despite its title is a bouncing slide-led roadhouse blues thumper, as is penultimate track “Nothin’s Easy But You and Me”.
Things end with “Come Down Angels”, which, as its title suggests, is again Gospel-framed musically; and despite a slow start, it soon revs (sic) into high gear and is perfectly constructed for call and response and audience participation in the live arena, where this band really excels.
I’ve heard a few Blues albums recently – which will remain nameless – and among them, I’ve heard a great deal of sloppy, lazy playing that’s been passed off as “authenticity” – no such worries here though – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are as tight and energetic as you’d hope for, (and for me) are definitely the Sound of the New Blues, and best served Live and LOUD!

Review by Nick Barber


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