And Self Made Men + Dana
“Tall Dark & Handsome”
Hot Shot Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Although I’ll give him the handsome, I don’t know exactly how tall or dark he is, so your guess is as good as mine as to if Delbert McClinton’s new CD, “Tall, Dark & Handsome”, is self-titled. What I do know is that “Tall, Dark & Handsome”, his twenty-sixth release, contains fourteen all original tracks that were penned or co-penned by Delbert and in my opinion, it’s one of the very best of those that I’ve heard.
As you’ve come to expect of the Texas Troubadour, he once again has surrounded himself with a stellar batch of bandmates. Those Self Made Men – and there are many – plus Dana, include: Joe Maher and Jack Bruno on drums: Glen Worf and Michael Joyce on bass; Bob Britt on guitars, mandolin and backing vocals; Kevin McKendree on piano, B3 organ, mellotron, guitar, and backing vocals; Jim Hoke on tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet and accordion; Dana Robbins on tenor sax; Pat McLaughlin on guitar and backing vocals; Yates McKendree and James Pennebaker on guitars; Quentin Ware on trumpet; Roy Agee on trombone; Stuart Duncan on violin; Dennis Wage on Wurlitzer and piano; and Vicki Hampton, Wendy Moten, Robert Bailey, Delaney McClinton, and Delbert himself, all on backing vocals.
As you’ve also come to expect of Delbert, there’s no way he’s doing fourteen songs in the same flavor. That said, stay tuned for a little bit o’ jazz, a little bit o’ blues, a little bit o’ Dixieland, a little bit o’ country, a little bit o’ swing, and a whole lot o’ zing.
The disc opens with most of those horn players mentioned above; blowin’ most of the horns listed above; with most of the backup singers joining Delbert in sounding very happy about the fact that “Mr. Smith” is back in town and there’s an obvious party going down.
“If I Hock My Guitar”… is a thought I’m sure has entered the minds of a heck of a lot of pickers, strummers and shredders. There is something to be said for that bird in the hand thing. In any event, by the time this track’s over, we should all be happy that Bob Britt never hocked his.
So can a vocalist singing with a raspy and scratchy voice sound smooth as silk while doing so? Listen to “No Chicken On The Bone” and I’ll be expecting a “yes”! That’s exactly what Delbert just did”. With this being his only appearance on the disc, Stuart Duncan and his dazzling fiddle are masterful.
Seems like Delbert is not quite as happy as “Lulu” coming back into town as he was when Mr. Smith did. Unlike his arrival sparking a party, her arrival sparked panic. You see Lulu, to say the least, is a hostile woman from Delbert’s past who wants to still be friends. Delbert’s take on that is “let me be perfectly clear, you can go to hell but you can’t stay here.” With Joe, Glenn, and Kevin in a jazzy groove, the rhythm section shines on this one.
“Ruby And Jules” are like precious stones cut with precision tools. Ruby’s a jewel and Jules is too. Along that line, so are Jack and Dennis. On this very jazzy number, while Delbert is playfully describing the saga of this yin and yang pair, they’re totally dialed into each other on the drums and piano.
“A Fool Like Me” is another of just a few tracks that feature the full horn section, and in no time at all, they’ll have you dancin’ like you’re in a French Quarter parade.
As much as you think you may already know about Delbert McClinton, I’m sure you’ll be able to discover a whole lot more at www.delbert.com – check it out. BTW, whoever you contact, please let them know the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © 2019
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient