Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nice new set from Jackie Payne and Steve Edmonson

The Jackie Payne-Steve Edmonson Band had a critical success with their release of a couple years back, "Partners in the Blues." It was on Burnside and did not receive the exposure it deserved. Delta Groove, quickly becoming one of the more significant blues labels, has issued their latest release, "Master of the Game," a set of solid uptown blues with a hefty dash of Payne’s soulful vocals and Edmonson’s fleet modern blues guitar stylings. Payne is a veteran who first came to the attention of some from his tenure with the legendary Johnny Otis. Otis’s son, Nicky in fact anchors strong band heard here who back payne on a colelction of mostly originals which cover a range of typical blues themes from the 'Mean Evil Woman,' about a cajun woman who doesn’t treat men any good but got loving so good, to the 'Woman in Kansas City,' who will do anything for Jackie even selling her soul to the devil to keep him from me, which uses the 'Dust My Broom riff,' and the 'Sweet Land Lady,' who takes real good care of Jackie. Edmonson’s crisp solo here evokes Magic Sam. On the title track, set to a frustratingly familiar blues melody, Payne sings about when it comes to being a fool I am the master of the game, while 'A Fool Like Me' is a soulful original. Remakes include an enjoyable rendition of O.V. Wright’s 'A Nickel & A Nail,' that doesn’t quite come close to the heat of the original or Otis Clay’s marvelous tribute to his late friend, a strong rendition of 'Just the One' and a rendition of 'I’ll Take Care of You,' that might have been stronger with a slightly larger horn section and a bit less Memphis and more Joe Scott in the horn arrangements. Overall this is a very solid effort. Payne is a real good singer and the band is tight and can swing as well as rock. It is easy to recommend this album of uptown blues although I do not think it is as good as "Partners in the Blues."

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