Listen Up: Wednesday, October 1, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Precious Bryant

Fool Me Good (Terminus Records)

By Matthew Smith

Born in the rural south, the third child of nine, Precious Bryant was given her first guitar, a Sears and Roebuck Silvertone, on her ninth birthday, by her father. He was a musician himself as, apparently, were several other members of her extended family.

After accompanying her sister in the local Baptist church, she moved on to the big-time world of Talbot County, Ga. Playing mostly talent shows and parties, she won crowds by singing songs such as “Broke and Ain’t Got A Dime” and “Blues All Around My Bed.”

Anyone unfamiliar with Precious Bryant’s story could easily mistake her latest, Fool Me Good, for an ancient blues artifact.

Hardly. Bryant was born around the time her make of country bluesperson was ditching the acoustic in Delta for the electric in Chi-Town and not long before the emergence of R&B and rock ’n’ roll. And yet Fool Me Good feels as pleasantly anachronistic and non-commercial as can be. But who cares? Recorded live, this is sweetness indeed.

Bryant’s rich voice imparts down-home story-songs of love, mirth, and the burden of being at once upbeat and gritty at the same time. Her acoustic picking, which ranges from contemplatively quiet to rave-up jumpy, recalls giants like Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy yet remains uniquely hers. Nothing here seems sentimental, yet everything appears to be of a different time. To hear Bryant rag on wayward lovers or sing of hanging on in spite of everything is to hear the timeless power of a lone guitar and voice.

Respectful of the past while not intoxicated by it, Bryant delivers a much-needed freshness to what passes for The Blues these days. There aren’t many like her around anymore — unfortunately.


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