The title track of the new Delta Groove CD by the Jackie Payne-Steve Edmonson Band, Overnight Sensation, quickly dispels that myth as Payne sings of growing up to Lightning Hopkins and T-Bone Walker, playing with Johnny Copeland and touring with Johnny Otis. “they call me an overnight sensation, but it sure has been a mighty long time.” Often such songs can come off flat, but this gem penned by vocalist Payne and guitarist Edmonson sets the tone for this soulful, funky set of modern urban blues. This is the third collaboration between the two veterans of the blues scene. Payne had been featured with Johnny Otis for about 15 years, and then had several fine recordings in the company of guitarist Kenny ‘Blue’ Ray (including an album under Payne’s name for JSP) while Edmonson had made his mark with various musicians before the two teamed up and put together a terrific band that include bassist Bill Singletary; drummer Nicky Otis (one of Johnny’s sons); saxophonist Carl Green and trumpeter Lech Wierzynski.
Payne and Edmonson are responsible for most of the material here but their are some choice interpretations of vintage material such as Gene Barge’s Mother-in-Law Blues, with Payne’s gripping vocal and Edmonson’s sizzling guitar work certainly compares favorable with Buddy Guy’s Chess original. of the originals, Take a Chance on Me, has a Latin tinge with a strong Memphis soul-styled vocal by Payne and a nice trumpet break from Green. Mitch Kashmar adds harp (and the horns sit out) for the Windy City salute I Got a Mind to Go to Chicago, while the mood shifts on the jazzy Uptown Woman Downtown Man, with a vocal that would have done the late Lou Rawls proud. The rest of this album is equally good. There is a terrific remake of Your Good Thing (Is About to Come to an End), the strutting funk of Bag Full of Doorknobs, with a great line “My woman has a bag full of doorknobs, she changes the lock every time I leave home.” and some tasty guitar commentary from Edmonson. It is followed by the driving deep-soul medley She’s Looking Good/ I’ve Never Found a Girl. After the instrumental Bringin’ Me Right Home, this disc ends with Charlie Rich’s Feel Like Going Home, with a country-soul flavoring in Payne’s vocal that ends this marvelous disc on another high musical note. There are some singers who affect me deeper than Payne does, but none of them sing as soulfully and consistently strongly as Payne does here and with the superior playing by guitarist Edmonson and the band, this certainly will be on my list of best blues recordings of 2008.