Just Do Me Right
One of my longstanding complaints about recent blues releases has been that blues musicians seem to lately be stuck in the past (like many of their jazz counterparts) and that blues seems to be stranded somewhere between Mississippi ’32 and Chicago ’68 (of course I do realize that my opinion holds the weight of a vivisected gnat). Then I receive a fresh, creative album like Just Do Me Right, and my hopes skyrocket — only to be dashed by the fact that Asie Payton died of a heart attack back in 1997.
Payton’s debut album, Worried, came out in ’99, and was thought to be the only album of his that would ever be released. However, thanks to an old friend and some digging around, Fat Possum has been able to release this second recording. Don’t think that this is a collection of scraps salvaged from the dumpster and cut and pasted together into a shoddy product. Quite the opposite. Just Do Me Right is some of the best blues I’ve heard in years. Though the music on the disc spans from 1980 to 1994, it feels as though it’s just had its umbilical cut and had been slapped on the ass. Payton, who lived and performed (and rarely recorded?!) in Washington County, Mississippi, was living a tradition he never had to revisit. Therefore, his music seems a bit more sincere than most while also seeming a bit more innovative.
The music has a serious edge to it that cuts along some pure funk (like “1000 Years” and “I Got a Friend”) and hard-rocking blues (like the anthemic “Need My Help”) while songs like “Lose My Happy Home” feels like it’s been mixed by some hipster Paris DJ. Listening to this disc suddenly makes me mournful of the loss of a musician I’d never heard of before while filling me with the joy listening to any music from a true artist gives.
Fat Possum Records: http://www.fatpossum.com