Big Pete Pearson

Big Pete Pearson
Finger In Your Eye

SouthWest Musical Arts Foundation - Vizztone Label

By Georgetown Fats
October 2009

When greats like Pinetop Perkins and Duke Robillard make guest appearances on someone’s album, you know the artist either has an enormous production budget to surround himself with the best talent or he has the goods. Born in Jamaica, raised in Austin, Texas juke joints and now the “King of the Arizona blues scene,” Big Pete Pearson has the goods.

Pearson is a powerhouse blues shouter who definitely deserves the “Big” moniker, and Finger In Your Eye is loaded with the signature Chicago sound. It is full of mid-tempo shuffles and slow grooves, barrelhouse piano, world-weary vocals and thick overloaded tube amp harmonica.

Throughout the set Pearson shows remarkable restraint and ear; though it is clearly his project, Pearson doesn’t need to be the center of attention and he gives his band room to shine. Chris James provides a tasteful opening guitar lick on “Short Change” and on “Time Has Come” the tempo is slowed and Bruce Bears adds a smooth Memphis-esque organ. Doug James lays down stylistically simple, yet beautiful baritone sax on two tracks and Bob Corritore’s harp provides response to Pearson’s vocals and counter-point to James’ solos across the entire disc. Though I have heard several hundred versions of this simplistic formula, it is hard to fault the lack of originality when the formula is delivered with such passion and precision.

For those looking for an artist who blends blues with other musical styles, or even different blues sounds together, Big Pete Pearson is not your guy. Pearson is a traditionalist who can hold his own amongst the Chicago greats and the command he presents on this album proves it. Kudos to the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation - Vizztone Label Group for bringing this well-guarded secret to a larger audience.

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