Delbert McClinton – Outdated Emotion
Thrifty Tigers/Hotshot Records
If for nothing else, Delbert McClinton is still cool and eclectic. At 81 years young, Delbert offers up 16 songs from the Americana at it’s finest. Delbert returns to his roots with these songs that he loves and that influenced this famed Texan’s musical career. Kevin McKendree and his son Yates had a big part in producing and playing on this album with Delbert.
Delbert’s own words sum it up nicely, “I’ve always wanted to do an album of the songs that influenced me the most. Hank Williams songs, Jimmy Reed songs, and songs that I love. And this was the perfect time to do it. It’s important music from another time. It’s music that people need to hear again, or for the first time. Nobody knows about them. Or has forgotten about them. Or was never turned on to them. There is a whole generation, maybe two generations now, who don’t know this music. My whole idea here was to show them how it was and how we got here. Hank Williams, Jimmy Reed, Lloyd Price, Ray Charles. These songs take me to my youth. They are good if not better now than they were then, and they were great then. They are songs people should just get to hear.” Blues and real music fans know these songs, but he’s right; many of these tunes are lost in the new world of music and need to be heard.
Delbert, of course, is on lead vocals and harp. Yates McKendree is on drums and upright bass for some tracks and his dad Kevin is on piano and guitar and also does bass and drums on one cut. Steel guitar is Chris Scruggs and Stuart Duncan is on fiddle. Mark Winchester is the other bass player. Jimmy Stuart and Wes L’Anglois are on acoustic guitars. Jim Hoke handles the saxophones. Backing vocals are stellar by Wendy Moten, Vicki Hampton and Robert Bailey. Danny flowers is also on harp. The McKendrees are stellar in support as are all the musicians.
“Stagger Lee” gets things rolling as Delbert Sings with passion on this classic tune. It’s a rollicking good time with honky-tonk piano, horns and slick backing vocals. The steel guitar gets broken out for “Settin’ The Woods On Fire;” Delbert gets down home and the guitar and fiddle set a backdrop for this one, a great fantastic Hank Williams classic. Jimmy Reed’s “The Sun Is Shining” follows with some slick harp by Delbert. The bands sets up a nice groove and Delbert does the rest. “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” is next, John Lee Hooker’s old tune that has served many well. Delbert sings with piano, bass and drum accompaniment and it’s a fun ride. Things get rocking with “Long Tall Sally” as McClinton nicely grinds through this song made famous by Little Richard. He then does his own “Two Step Too” where he and the steel guitar and fiddle have a great time and the bass sets the pace sweetly. The following cut is a Ray Charles ballad “I Want A Little Girl.” Delbert sings with emotion as the piano, bass and he make for a dreamy delivery. More cool Jimmy Read is next, “Ain’t That Lovin’ You.” McClinton give it grit and does a fine job with this bouncing and fun tune.
Hank’s “Jambalaya” follows that and we get more pretty steel guitar and fiddle to savor as Delbert give his all. “Connecticut Blues” is another fine one that is Delbert’s own. He gives it a cool, lounge-like treatment that works well. “I Ain’t Got You” is another Jimmy Reed song that is a Chicago blues standard and another Delbert favorite. He blows and sings with passion as he delivers another fine rendition of this song. Many of us were teens when George Thorgood and the Destroyers covered this one, but Delbert returns to its’ roots with Hank Williams; “Move It On Over” with steel guitar and fiddle and a two step feel is a lot of fun. Next is “Hard Hearted Hannah” where Delbert does justice to another Ray Charles tune. Nice piano support and a deep groove help to sell this one. “Sweet Talkin’ Man” is another McClinton cut and he delivers the good. The piano and guitar support here is nicely done. More fiddle and steel guitar are featured in “Money Honey,” another of his classics. He concludes with “Call Me A Cab,” something he and Yates worked up. Barely a half minute of spoken word and bass., Delbert says, “Call me a cab, he can’t take this shit anymore,” likely an apt reference to today’s popular music scene.
Kevin McKendree and his talented son Yates helped Delbert create this album. With Delbert’s retirement from the road in May 2021, it is great to see him in the studio doing what he does best. His 64 years on the road were well spent and his retirement was well earned. It is super to see him here returning to the music that inspired that career! If this is it for Delbert’s recording career, I couldn’t think of a better way for him to finish up his career. He’s inspired generations of musicians and is a legend who will be remembered for his work!
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