Was he country, or was he blues? Whatever you want to call it -- Delbert McClinton kicked ass! Hard-edged, southern rock-flavored, bar-fighting, chickenwire trashing real-deal honkytonk mixed with the deepest, funkiest Southern soul... And most of all, there's McClinton's voice -- pure honkie, but soul-drenched and super-bluesy. One of the all-time great honky blues singers, Delbert McClinton has never slowed down or failed to please his fans... Here's a quick look at his work.
Delbert McClinton "Very Early Delbert McClinton" (1978)
Delbert McClinton "Crazy Cajun Recordings" (Edsel, 1978)
Another entry in this uniformly disappointing series... In the 1960s, McClinton recorded briefly for Huey Meaux's Crazy Cajun label, but the results aren't much to crow about... Mostly just cover tunes of rock hits of the day, and the like. Skippable.
Delbert McClinton "The Best Of Delbert McClinton" (Curb, 1989)
Modest in terms of quantity (only eleven songs), but the quality can't be beat. Includes McClinton's "Givin' It Up For Your Love" and a sizzling rendition of "Take Me To The River" that gives ol' Rev. Al Green a run for his money...
Delbert McClinton "The Great Songs: Come Together" (Curb, 1994)
Delbert McClinton "Let The Good Times Roll" (MCA, 1995)
A budget-line best-of that includes songs from Love Rustler and Genuine Cowhide -- great stuff, but also anthologized elsewhere...
Delbert McClinton "Honky Tonk 'N' Blues" (MCA, 1995)
Delbert McClinton "Genuine Rhythm & The Blues" (MCA/Hip-O, 2000)
Two great collections. Hard-edged, southern rock-flavored, bar-fighting honkytonk music... and most of all, there was McClinton's voice -- pure honky, but soul-drenched and bluesy. These are both great best-of collections: "Before You Accuse Me, " "Lovey Dovey," "Solid Gold Plated Fool, " "Lipstick, Powder And Paint"... what's to complain about? Either CD easily supercedes his various '70s albums; they could be spotty but these are not. These discs rock. Highly recommended!
Delbert McClinton "The Ultimate Collection" (Universal/Hip-O, 1999)
Delbert McClinton "The Millennium Collection" (Universal/Hip-O, 1999)
Delbert McClinton "The Definitive Delbert McClinton" (Universal/Hip-O, 2006)
An awesome set of soulful roadhouse honky blues from one of Texas's favorite sons, a man who mixed country, blues and soul with a passion and power that few could match. Universal ups the ante from their old, standard-issue McClinton best-ofs by gathering material from several labels (ABC, Capricorn, Capitol and indies such as Alligator and Rising Tide) to give a more comprehensive overview of McClinton's long, glorious career. They also dig way back in the vaults to include Bruce Chanel's 1961 single, "Hey Baby," which featured McClinton on harmonica, blowing a funky riff that he'd later teach to a young John Lennon (according to the pop culture legend machine...) who would adapt it to use in "Love Me Do..." Longtime favorites such as "Lipstick, Powder And Paint," "Honky Tonkin'," "Victim Of Life's Circumstances" and "Two More Bottles Of Wine" evoke McClinton's fiery debut on the mid-1970s roots music scene, and his soulful later work -- which is often given short shrift -- is dutifully explored in the disc's second half. Hardcore fans may prefer the more exhaustive album-by-album reissues on Raven Records, but for folks looking for a strong, basic introduction to McClinton's work should find this a pretty satisfying set.
Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark "The Delbert & Glen Sessions: 1971-1973" (Raven, 2004)
This much-welcome reissue resurrects two early albums from the short-lived Delbert & Glen partnership, Delbert & Glen, from 1972 and Subject To Change, from 1973.
Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark "Delbert & Glen" (ABC-Dunhill, 1972)
Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark "Subject To Change" (ABC-Dunhill, 1973)
Delbert McClinton "Victim Of Life's Circumstances" (RCA, 1975)
Delbert McClinton "Genuine Cowhide" (RCA, 1976)
Delbert McClinton "Love Rustler" (RCA, 1977)
Delbert McClinton "Second Wind" (Mercury, 1978)
Delbert McClinton "Keeper Of The Flame" (Mercury, 1979)
Delbert McClinton "The Jealous Kind" (1980)
Delbert McClinton "Plain From The Heart" (1981)
Delbert McClinton "Live From Austin" (Alligator, 1989)
Delbert McClinton "Honky Tonkin' " (Alligator, 1989)
Delbert McClinton "I'm With You" (Curb, 1990)
(Produced by Barry Beckett & Delbert McClinton)
Delbert McClinton "Never Been Rocked Enough" (Curb, 1992)
Delbert McClinton "Delbert McClinton" (Curb, 1993)
Delbert McClinton "One Of The Fortunate Few" (Rising Tide, 1997)
Delbert McClinton "Nothing Personal" (New West, 2001)
Delbert McClinton may be getting a little long in the tooth, but certainly is not diminished by age... This is a solid, flawlessly produced album, with serious soul roots that measure up to almost anything McClinton recorded back in the '70s... This album also has a prescient, pessimistic air about it, full of tales of hard-luck 'n' hard times that are bound to take on even greater resonance as we settle deeper into the Bush-Cheney recession years. It's the same old roughneck romance that Delbert has been singing about for years now, about jes' plain folks who'll settle for getting laid, even if they can't get a break. Delbert hits the mark once again as the global pendulum swings back towards the blues. Mostly, though, what you'll notice is the music -- this is a pretty sharp set, and this disc is definitely recommended!
Delbert McClinton "Room To Breathe" (New West, 2002)
Delbert McClinton "Live" (New West, 2003)
A fine, fine 2-CD set capturing blues-abilly roadhouse crooner McClinton in top form, backed by a lean, mean piano-guitar-and horns combo. Most of the material is uptempo and blues-based, and while I prefer it when he slows things down a bit and gets more soulful and funky, fans of either style will recognize Delbert's mastery of the music. He's still going strong, after all these years -- in fact, he may be playing at his peak!
Delbert McClinton "Cost Of Living" (New West, 2005)
Damn, he's good. Good as in, "awesome," and definitely not phoning it in... Here's yet another lively roots music set showcasing this veteran roadhouse pro at his very best, a soulful blues-based performer with feet planted equally firmly in old-school country's honkytonk tradition... This is a very strong set of original material, with highlights that include rollicking, humorous tunes like "Right To Be Wrong" and the lustful "I'll Change My Style," as well as the country-flavored "Two Step Too," which is as concise a description of McClinton's rock-country-R&B world view as we're ever likely to hear. It should be mentioned, though, that with the destruction of New Orleans earlier this month, an unintended sadness hangs over this album as well... The strolling Big Easy vibe of "One Of The Fortunate Few" and other songs are part of McClinton's long love of Louisiana music, and made me wonder what the blues world will do without its home... Hopefully, they'll keep making great records like this one, and if Cost Of Living is any indication, Delbert McClinton will be one of the artists there to lead the way to rebuild and revitalize the New Orleans soul we know and love so well. Anyway, this is a fine record... If you get it, you will not be disappointed.
Delbert McClinton "Live From Austin, TX" (New West, 2006)
Delbert McClinton "Feelin' Alright" (SRI Jazz, 2006)
Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark "Blind, Crippled & Crazy" (New West, 2013)
(Produced by Glen Clark, Delbert McClinton & Gary Nicholson)
These two old coots have been making music together for a long, long time... Their "Delbert & Glen" albums of the 1970s were touchstones of the '70s roadhouse blues-country scene, and their powers remain undiminished in the dawn of the 21st Century. This disc is packed with heavy, chunky blues beats and lyrics that are both witty and reflective: there's a funny paradox of these grizzled veterans of a thousand-thousand parties still writing songs about partying down while also tempering their good-time lyrics with hard-won reflections about age and aging. Long story short, though: if you dig Delbert McClinton and know how great his other recent records have been, then you'll love this one, too. It's a gas.
Hick Music Index