Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spider Eating Preacher reviewed by Rick Davis

Spider Eating Preacher
Eddie C. Campbell
Delmark Records
15 Tracks

Eddie C. Campbell developed his blues style at an early age on Chicago’s West side, playing venues like the 1125 Club with Muddy Waters, and the Alex Club with Magic Sam. He directed Jimmy Reed’s band for period of time and worked with Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All-Stars, Luther Allison, Koko Taylor, Willie James Lyons, Big Monroe, drummer Willie Buckner, Otis Rush, Mighty Joe Young, Little Walter, and harp player Pee Wee Madison. By the late 50's, Eddie C. Campbell's band was backing up Percy Mayfield, Lowell Fulson, Tyrone Davis, and Little Johnny Taylor.
His new CD Spider Eating Preacher on Delmark Records is a follow-up to his previous 2009 release, Tear This World Up. Eddie’s superb guitar style echoing with reverb can be heard throughout the entire album. He has a strong family backing with his wife and bass player Barbara Mayson, his son David Campbell on violin, and his godson Lurrie Bell on guitar, vocals, and harmonica. Rounding out this all-star band are Robert Pasenko on drums, Lurrie Bell’s keyboardist Darryl Coutts, Vuyani Wakaba on bass, Alexander Meija on guitar, Marques Carroll on trumpet, Chris Neal playing tenor sax, and Aaron Getsug on baritone sax.

At the age of 72, Campbell is still creating new music as 12 out of the 15 cuts on the new CD are original tunes. The only cuts that are not original are Ricky Allen’s “Cut You A-loose,” “Skintight,” a funky remake originally done by the Ohio Players, and the Jimmy Lee Robinson slow blues tune “All of My Life.”  The song “Soup Bone (Reheated)” is a remake one of Campbell’s early 45s. He opens the CD with the up-tempo “I Do” and the title track “Spider Eating Preacher” backed by a first class horn section from Guy King’s Little Big Band. Chicago blues number “Call My Mama” sounds like a tune that could be belted out by Howlin’ Wolf himself, much like he did on “Smokestack Lightning.” Campbell’s vocals match those of the Wolf on this one. He doubles on harmonica on this tune as well as “My Friend (For Jim O’Neal).” “I Don’t Understand This Woman” has that strong Jimmy Reed influence with strong piano solos by Darryl Coutts. Coutts is brought to center stage once again with rich organ solos on the instrumental “Starlight” blended with Eddie’s echoing reverb on guitar. The funky instrumental “Brownout” showcases the unequaled horn section along with those familiar guitar riffs from Campbell, the master himself. The CD is completed with the two sensational blues tunes “Boomerang” and “Been Gone A Long Time.” He finishes this collection with the acoustic/harmonica number “Playing Around These Blues” with Lurrie Bell, discussing the evolution of their blues family.

The influence from the many legends Eddie C. Campbell has worked with over his long and rewarding blues career can be heard on this fabulous collection of tunes. It is one of his best yet! You simply can’t miss this CD.

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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