Son House – Grinnin in Your Face

“Grinnin’ In Your Face” sung by Son House, one of the key figures of early Mississippi Delta Blues.  Eddie James “Son” House, was an American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing. Son House began performing blues during the early 1920’s, and we would continue to do so for twenty years. After becoming a pastor, Sun House stepped away from the blues for what he thought was forever. A group of young men traveled to several states looking for Sun House, eventually they found him and convinced him to record his music. Son House had spent so much time away from the blues he didn’t know how to play the guitar.  A young guitarist Alan Wilson was a fan of Son House. The producer John Hammond Sr asked Wilson, who was just 22 years old, to teach “Son House how to play like Son House,” because Alan Wilson had such a good knowledge of the blues styles. The album The Father of Delta Blues – The Complete 1965 Sessions was the result. 

“Grinnin in my face” is one of the amazing songs recorded on that album. When I first heard the song, I immediately heard the simplicity in the music. The solitary clap in the background was more than enough to shadow the rawness and beauty from the pain and defiance heard in Son House’s vocals. The tune he carries throughout the song is steady but surprising with his use of vibrato. The lyrics are the cherry on top of the song, Son House is singing to not let the “in-authenticity” of others bring you down. What a powerful message that even people today can truly relate to. He even goes so deep to state, ” You know your mother would talk about you//Your own sisters and your brothers too//They just dont care how youre tryin to live//They’ll talk about you still”, I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to those lyrics personally. Son House exposes the gritty truth in his lyrics and in the pain liberated through his voice. I believe the song proves why people refer to Son House as the “Father of Blues”