Eddie 9V – Left My Soul in Memphis
11 songs, 41 minutes
Full disclosure: your humble BB reviewer’s favorite style of Blues is the super funky music that the 3 Kings, Albert Collins, Gatemouth, Koko Taylor and many others created in the 70’s and 80’s. It is music that bridges the commercial gaps between Blues artists and the white Rock music that liberally stole from them and in a small way mitigates the injustice. This music is also pure expression from vital artists in their prime interpreting the world around them and processing the groundbreaking invention of George Clinton, Sly Stone, Diana Ross, and countless others in the generation that came after them. Albums like Freddie King’s Woman Across the River, Albert King’s I’ll Play the Blues for You, B.B. King’s Completely Well, Albert Collins’ Ice Pickin’ and Koko Taylor’s I Got What it Takes are seminal works and deeply influential.
Eddie 9V is a kindred spirit. AKA Brooks Mason, 9V’s debut record Left My Soul in Memphis is a funky soulful Blues record that sounds of a different time. Recorded in his double wide trailer in Georgia with assistance only on keyboards from Rhett Huffman, Left My Soul is an astounding mature collection for a 23 year old guitar slinger just getting his career started. Singing with a Freddie King delivery and playing with a Freddie King bite, it is clear throughout that Mr. Volt is deeply influenced by: Freddie King. 10 original songs and a pitch perfect cover of “Look Over Yonder Wall” lifted from, who else but, Freddie King’s Woman Across the River, are performed with snap and consistency and have a washy analog sheen on them, even though this album was certainly recorded digitally.
The feat of recording on your own a full length record that sounds excellent and has real character, makes Left My Soul all the more appealing and infectious. The soul romp title track burbles and bubbles with gooey tremolo slide guitar and underwater organ. Classic slow Blues “Bottle and the Blues” is a B.B. and Freddie rundown. The Bar-Kays backed Albert King inspired “New Orleans” and “Bending with the Kings” are simply more show pieces for Eddie’s tasty incendiary chops, the latter a clear homage to Albert’s “Laundromat Blues Parts 1&2.” The winding and grinding “Ghosts” is an entertaining direct lift of Bob Dylan’s “Meet Me in the Morning” from Blood on the Tracks. But, that’s okay because Dylan lifted his riff from Big Bill Broonzy anyway.
The three final tracks on this album dazzle and create a possible road map for this young artist. “Lo-Fi Love” is a Neo-Soul shake down in the vein of Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley (or really any of the other Daptones Records artists). The difference here is that Eddie 9V is a dirty Bluesman with a stinging guitar-centric aesthetic. 9V knocks the Neo-Soul hipster chill model on its ass and creates something more earthy and messy. “Don’t Test Me” speeds up 9V’s 3 Kings trip and plants it squarely into the drum-hit heavy world of the late 60’s LA scene of Johnny Otis and his son Shuggie. The final track “1945 (Cocaine & Rum)” is a North Mississippi boogie taken hard with more urgency than trance. Eddie’s picking sophistication infuses the boogie with a complexity and the lyrics are evocative. This is an elevated hybrid boogie in line with the breakthroughs of Jimbo Mathus and Cedric Burnside.
Eddie 9V is a huge talent. A slavish devote of the 3 Kings, 9V’s playing is thoroughly connected to the tradition. This direct translation belies a layer of youth and will, one hopes, become ever more individual and idiosyncratic as he matures as an artist. Songs like the final three detailed above and the title track are truly breakthrough moments. These tracks coupled with the shear willful force of talent required to produce such a singular solo effort announce that Eddie 9V is a young Blues voice to be noticed and followed.