Eddie C. Campbell, Spider Eating Preacher (Delmark)

Eddie Campbell, Spider Eating Preacher

Chicago’s Eddie Campbell has been making records for over four decades. I have yet to hear one that wasn’t top-notch, yet Spider Eating Preacher is the best. [There’s even a song named after my little fox terrier, “Boomerang!”] The band, the material, Campbell’s guitar and the arrangements are all second to none. The album opener, “I Do,” is a witty but sad tale of what happens when the marital shit hits the fan. Campbell’s Westside guitar is just as witty, and the horns really pump. His lyrics and guitar again take center stage on the title track, a classic mid-tempo, Chicago-blues shuffle. “Call My Mama” is just devastating; with its spine-tingling echo and reverb, the one-chord, Howlin’ Wolf—ish tune sounds like it was recorded in a train station at 3 a.m. Nobody has assembled a blues anthology about food yet, but when they do, they’d better include “Soup Bone.” It sports an attractive, slow blues groove and lyrics that tell the droll story of a poor, hungry man in the kitchen. It’s also got a brilliant guitar passage. Most every man can relate to “I Don’t Understand This Woman.” This time Campbell shares the solo with a piano, and it’s right on the money. “Downtown” is not a Petula Clark cover, but, rather, a tale about a jealous man’s lack of transportation. Every song here has merit, but I must mention the funky “Skin Tight” (“You’re running folks into ditches / Wearing those skin-tight britches”) and the closer “Playing Around These Blues,” a spirited acoustic duet with Lurrie Bell. One can’t say enough good things about this CD; Spider Eating Preacher is an instant blues classic. This is the Two Steps from the Blues of 2012.