Good Gawd amitey! This is soul, man — the real deal. Twenty-four-year-old Atlanta native Brooks Mason sings like Eddie Hinton and plays guitar like Freddie King. As his alter ego Eddie 9V, Mason brings a depth to his music that belies his age and ethnicity, dredging up a bucketload of deep-dish soul scooped from the well of James Carr, Otis Clay, and Bobby Marchan.
The title cut of Little Black Flies is as graphic as Marchan’s “There Is Something on Your Mind,” a bloody, shoot-’em-dead love gone wrong saga. “A shot rang out in the name of love / And I fell right down in a pool of blood,” Eddie croaks in that heartbroken Hinton patois as little black flies buzz around that godforsaken kitchen where bruised flesh and bad decisions are on graphic display. Eddie says it’s about a wannabe love affair with an abused upstairs neighbor he wanted to help, a picture he paints with a blood-soaked brush dipped in a bucket of misery.
An opener like that would seem a hard act to follow. But Eddie keeps the blood flowing and the pressure on with a potentially deadly encounter on the Albert King-flavored slow-drag cheaters anthem “Don’t Come Around This House,” lamenting that “You know it breaks my heart / I’m gonna have to put you down Lord, six feet underground.” He flails around on the outro, throwing out a bushel basket full of Kingly clangs before finally staggering to a halt, muttering “Man, I’m so out of tune” as the cut fades out.
Eddie tosses out another gravedirt scenario after suffering from canine shaming on “Dog Me Around,” vowing that “before I let you dog me around baby / I’m gonna have to put you six feet in the ground.”
He trades his Kingly robes for some more down home duds on the raucous, rattly Elmore James- flavored juke joint romp “She Got Some Money.” All this stuff is tracked live with no do-overs, and it sounds like it, loose-limbed, in-the-moment throwdowns that crackle with excitement.
Even when he gets a little more romantic and less deadly on “Puttin’ The Kids To Bed,” he still sounds somewhat sinister: “I turn around I look at you, baby / She threw her clothes on the ground / The mood is right … I’ve got so much things that I just can’t control,” he says as he Claptons his way around the narrative with his guitar.
Buoyed by a passel of Muscle Shoals ghosts clawing their way back up from the graveyard to spread the soulful spirit once again, Eddie gets the job done in fine fashion, splattering his viscera joyfully in a bluesy, bloody celebration of heartfelt soul.