Payin' for My Sins

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Producer and songwriter Dennis Walker, the man who made Robert Cray a contender in the early '80s, has aligned himself with an emerging Mississippi-born blues singer and harp player, Grady Champion. Walker even brought in former Cray bassist, Richard Cousins to bounce the beat on his first collaboration with Champion, PAYIN' FOR MY SINS. It's a solid and soulful set with the young Champion of the blues burning on the opening original "I'm Smiling Again," his voice gritty and his harp steaming with the heat of a summer Saturday night on Beale Street. This roadhouse ruckus builds to a strutting sexuality on "My Rooster is King," then gives way to some serious soul on ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
Producer and songwriter Dennis Walker, the man who made Robert Cray a contender in the early '80s, has aligned himself with an emerging Mississippi-born blues singer and harp player, Grady Champion. Walker even brought in former Cray bassist, Richard Cousins to bounce the beat on his first collaboration with Champion, PAYIN' FOR MY SINS. It's a solid and soulful set with the young Champion of the blues burning on the opening original "I'm Smiling Again," his voice gritty and his harp steaming with the heat of a summer Saturday night on Beale Street. This roadhouse ruckus builds to a strutting sexuality on "My Rooster is King," then gives way to some serious soul on "Goin' Down Slow." But Champion doesn't just cover the blues classic, he contemporizes it by turning the tune into a talking blues about a cousin who gets AIDS from a "hoochie mama." PAYIN' FOR MY SINS reaches back to the country blues on the acoustic "Roberta" and pays tribute to harpmaster Sonny Boy Williamson with a cover of his "Don't Start Me Talkin'." And though Walker's sure hand can be felt in the production and songwriting on much of the release, Champion has the talent and drive to make his own way. His first, CD GOIN' BACK HOME, was a delightful surprise; with PAYIN' FOR MY SINS Champion jumps in the blues ring fit and fine.
All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
For his second recording, the young Champion proves to be a decent, basic harmonica player, he's not featured on every cut. He wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 13 tracks. His voice is rough, more a shouter and screamer than a trained singer, sandpaper over silk, with imprecise phrasings. But as you go through the entire program it kinda grows on you, and he gets credit for doing a wide range of authentic, traditional and soulful blues, with occasional accompanying horns and back-up singers. At his best, Champion plays and sings, like on the Sonny Boy Williamson rocker "Don't Start Me To Talkin'" or straight blues like his own "I'm Smilin' Again" and the mid-tempo shuffle "Let Me Be." He does James Oden's fine talking blues with his own lyrical extrapolation, a story about a cousin who moved to Miami, messed around and contracted AIDS for the pensive "Goin' Down Slow" with excellent back-up lead guitar throughout by Alan Mirikitani. The king snake feel for his "Troubled Mind" has some minimal harmonica but another great slide guitar segment from Mirikitani. Better harmonica crops up on the John Lee Hooker type boogie "My Rooster Is King," and a more soul blues feel is evident on "You Got some Explaining To Do" or the Otis Redding type ballad "Good As New." Champion claims "Roberta" as his original tune, and it's not the Piedmont classic, but done in the same style, lyrics similarly praise filled and pining for her return. Different "Roberta." Champion is derivative but maturing, and he's good right now. He shows all of the tools and building blocks, especially as a harmonica player, to make a fine bluesman someday if, like most things in life, he works hard at it.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/17/1999
  • Label: Shanachie
  • UPC: 016351902023
  • Catalog Number: 9020

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grady Champion Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Harmonica, Vocals
Thomisene Anderson Background Vocals
Richard Cousins Bass
James Intveld Upright Bass
Tom Peterson Soprano Saxophone
Antoine Salley cowbell
Lee Spath Drums
Mike Thomson Organ, Piano, Keyboards, Hammond Organ
Mike Turner Guitar, Mandolin, Rhythm Guitar, Muted Trumpet
Ben Peeler Dobro, Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Alan Mirikitani Guitar, Tambourine, Slide Guitar
Technical Credits
P.F. Sloan Composer
Aretha Franklin Composer
Robert Vosgien Mastering
Dennis Walker Producer
Crispian Mills Composer
Charlie Dahan Executive Producer
Grady Champion Producer
Alan Mirikitani Producer, Engineer
Traditional Composer
James Oden Composer
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