Peyton on Patton

Charley Patton might be the single most important figure in 20th century American music. Charley Patton was of mixed race, Black, White, and Native American, which means growing up on the Dockery Plantation in the Mississippi Delta, the state of Mississippi considered him Black. Regardless of what the State of Mississippi labeled him in the early 1900’s Charley Patton was American, and maybe the most American of all musicians who have come before or since. You can hear his influence in almost everything. Without Charley Patton there would not have been a Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Chuck Berry, Pops Staples, or Bukka White. At least not as we know them, and many of them said so themselves. Without them there would be no Rolling Stones, no Beatles, No Creedence Clearwater Revival. Without these artists, it is hard to say where we would be, but I know for certain I wouldn’t be the same musician I am today. For some reason, our culture isn’t as familiar with Charley Patton as it should be. Pop culture is way more familiar with Robert Johnson, but Robert Johnson came a generation later. By the time Robert Johnson recorded, Charley Patton had already become the biggest star in Blues, traveled all over the Mississippi Delta and the USA, and died.

When I first heard Charley Patton, my life was changed forever. I was hooked. He made it sound like two guitars. I have spent a lifetime admiring and studying his music. I have mentioned his name in interviews and I always have credited him as a big influence on my music. The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band has been around the world, we have performed for hundreds, and we have performed for thousands. After a decade of pilgrimages and tours, we have become a fixture at festivals and venues in the Mississippi Delta of Charley’s birth. I have been playing guitar since I was 12. I started giving guitar lessons after I had been playing for only a year. Only now do I feel confident enough to attempt to pay tribute to my Patron Saint Charley Patton.

We set out to do this as right as we could. I am a songwriter and an artist, but for this I wanted to stay as true to Charley’s music as I could. We recorded the entire record in one day, with one microphone in the great state of Indiana, the same way Charley’s first recording was done. Before we went in the studio I spent hours and days deciding which songs I could best do justice to, and at the same time I wanted to show all or most of the styles of Charley’s playing. I spent hours just selecting strings for the guitars so they would be closer to what Charley would have used. Then I spent hours in the woodshed getting them right. Charley sometimes had Son Sims (Fiddle) with him, and sometimes Willie Brown (Guitar), and later in life he recorded with Bertha Lee (Vocals). His best stuff is when he is performing just him and a guitar. I have Cuz (drums) and Breezy (washboard/Vocals) in my Big Damn Band. We made a conscious decision to use them only sparingly. When Cuz plays he plays only with his hands on a 100 year old tobacco barrel. Breezy lends washboarding skills on a couple of songs and just simply vocals on one. Most of the songs are just me and a guitar. Me paying tribute to a hero, who so many people of his own era described as a great man. As it should be… just Peyton on Patton.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Peyton on Patton

Label: SideOneDummy Records
Release: 19 July 2011

Tracks
Jesus Is A Dying Bed Maker
Some Of These Days I’ll Be Gone
Mississippi Boweavil Blues
Elder Green Blues
Tom Rushen Blues
Some Happy Days
Some of These Days I’ll Be Gone (Banjo Version)
Green River Blues
Prayer of Death Pt. 1
You’re Gonna Need Somebody (When You Come To Die)
A Spoonful Blues
Shake It and Break It
Some Of These Days I’ll Be Gone (Rev. Peyton Version)


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