For his 30th studio album, Delbert McClinton enlists the help of Grammy Winning producer Don Was, and combined with some just plain excellent songwriting, he turns in the most introspective and intelligent record of his fifty year career.
Delbert slides easily between country, jazz, gospel and blues like nobody’s business. McClinton’s voice is weathered, aged like fine wine, and sounds literally better than ever.
From the “Shortnin’ Bread” inspired “Mama’s Little Baby” to “Starting a Rumor,” the album is all good. “Rumor” has that Muscle Shoals r&b vibe reminiscent of Dan Penn or Jimmy Hall. So good.
Delbert goes back to the honkytonk for “Can’t Nobody Say I Didn’t Try,” a real, honest to God, George Jones meets Merle Haggard, country song. This is the country sound I have been missing for years. Great country guitar from the late Stephen Bruton. “Willie” is an equally cool country song, and one of my favorites.
This record is chock full of pretty songs. Sure, there’s some good ol’ funk and blues, but the beautiful tracks abound. “Until Then” is a nice love song for sure, as is “Out of My Mind.” “Never Saw it Comin’” is a great song about a woman leaving a man while he wasn’t paying attention.
Did somebody say funk? “Do it” is the perfect flip side of “Never Saw it Comin.” It’s a funky blues number with the man giving his cheating woman the kiss off.
“People Just Love to Talk” swings Cab Calloway style while “She’s Not There” explores the memory of love lost with a salsa beat from our old buddy Tom Hambridge on drums. “When She Cries at Night” is a straight up rock and roll song with some excellent guitar work.
All I can say is Delbert wrote or co-wrote every one of these songs, and they are all good. All of them. That, and his voice sounds better than ever. This is an essential album. Buffalo says “check it out!”
-Michael Buffalo Smith