[sic] Magazine

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – The Whole Fam Damnily

Gooood….Lawd Amighty. It would be hard to find someone more secular than me but still sometimes the spirit moves me. Atop a tall hill or amidst a dense wood. And most often listening to music made by believers. And listening to The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band on the marvellous “The Whole Fam Damnily” makes me want to testify.

I found them on a slow Friday at work (I confess, I was havin’ a lookee at the internet on the bosses time, unworthy sinner that I am. Well, it might have been a tea break!) and on seeing them I knew I had to hear them (I couldn’t risk sound in the office). And praise the Lord this album was on Ebay. And – miracle of miracles – it arrived on Saturday (and I was doubly blessed for the stamp remained un-franked too). Their website can leave no doubt that the band are heavenly. The photo with the pig, Yessir. And you can buy Breezy Peyton’s used washboards. I was sorely tempted, Brothers & Sisters. I was quite tempted by Breezy too. Cast me down.

The Reverend is actually a Reverend (looking not unlike Bluto from Popeye) and wife Breezy plays a mean washboard. It’s a family that plays together as brother (rather than Brother) Jayme Peyton is on percussion – including bucket. This is roots music of the most exuberant sort, from entry (“Can’t Pay The Bill”) to exit (“Persimmon Song”) this is a down home treat. So down home that the disc is a picture of a Persimmon – a fruit – and the inlay has the Peyton family recipe for Persimmon Pudding. But enough of my crap. This is seriously a total treat. If you like the rougher end of Ry Cooder, The Tennessee Three, Joe Strummer or Lonnie Donegan (and you should) then you need to fall on this quick.

This is the sound of rurally righteous America which for whatever reason strikes a global chord. For some reason someone coming in from a hard day on the phone and monitor believes he has commonality with dirt poor folk toiling the fields 16 hours a day. Not that I imagine the Rev does that either. He does however have a superb guitar style and a fantastic rich, pinched voice that along with Breezy’s washboard and Jayme’s drums gets you dancing round the hearth (or Aga) like a revivalist on ecstacy. ‘Mama’s Fried Potatoes’ has raucous slide like The Magic Band kickin’ up dust in a bayou (I know you probably get very little dust in a bayou). ‘Worn Out Shoe’ is just waiting for the Cohen Brothers to hear it – it sounds straight out of the Depression. Which is handy these days. ‘DT’s Or The Devil’ shines a light on the evils of the Demon Drink with a riff that will have you laying down your ‘shine. Though mainly to avoid spilling it as you whirl round!

Without ever getting maudlin it does get emotional on a couple of tracks. The guitar on ‘John Hughes’ is almost sitar like at the beginning of a story of a casualty of war who lives well beyond the war that kills him. ‘Them Old Days Are Gone’ is a real tear-jerker though not in a minor key way. It swings while full of home town pride and nostalgic regret. It’s going to be a long wait till the Reverend pitches his tent in Kings Cross, London in May but the spirit is most certainly willin’. Europe gets a month of visits around then.



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