Last week we got the Any Woman’s Blues series underway with the music of Sue Foley—electric (in more than one sense of the word) & contemporary, tho with a sense of deep roots. One of the two Foley tunes I picked was her cover of a Precious Bryant tune: “Fool Me Good,” & in introducing the song, Foley spoke highly of Bryant’s musicianship.
But unless you’re a real blues aficionado, you may not be familiar with Precious Bryant & her music. Born in Talbot County, Georgia in 1942, Ms Bryant has been playing guitar since she was nine years old—she started out on ukulele, & her first guitar was a Sears Silvertone—gotta love that. She performed as a teenager, & then again in the 1960s as a married woman, often playing simply for the tips she could collect in her guitar case.
Then she was recorded by folklorist George Mitchell in 1969, which led to some more exposure, tho it wasn’t really until the 1983 Chattahoochee Folk Festival (which Bryant played with Mitchell’s enthusiastic encouragement) that she began pursuing a wider audience—&, field recordings aside, it wasn’t until 2002 that she released her debut album at age 60—this was Fool Me Good on Terminus (which brings us full-circle to last week’s Foley post). Fool Me Good was nominated for two Blues Music Awards, & in 2006 she was nominated for "Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year," eventually losing out to the great Etta James. She released two more albums in 2005, The Truth on Terminus & My Name is Precious on Music Maker.
Bryant is an acoustic player who uses a fingerstyle form of playing sometimes referred to as Piedmont picking. A number of well-known blues artists have played in this style, which is usually characterized as “lighter” than styles used in Mississippi & Texas, for instance. Among the prominent Piedmont style players are Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Etta Baker, Elizabeth Cotten & Blind Boy Fuller—quite a line-up, & Precious Bryant’s talent puts her right in the heart of this tradition.
Once again we have two songs: Precious Bryant's cover of the great Memphis Minnie's "Black Rat Swing" from Bryant's Fool Me Good album & a live version of "My Chauffeur." Hope you enjoy the songs!