Listen Up: Wednesday, November 19, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Delbert McClinton

Delbert McClinton Live (New West Records)

By Jeff Prince

What a great start to an album: Live audience chatter is interrupted by an emcee saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome from Fort Worth, Texas ... Delbert McClinton,” and then an electric guitar kicks off a groove, McClinton says, “Oh Yeah!” and the band breaks into “Old Weakness,” a shining example of blue-eyed soul from one of Cowtown’s best roadhouse heroes. Live offers 19 songs spanning McClinton’s career, lifted from a performance at the Bergen Blues Festival in Norway, which was being broadcast on Norwegian radio. The recording wasn’t intended for release, but McClinton was so excited about the performance and sound quality that he released it as his first double c.d. Smart move. The band is tight, inspired, and taking risks — elements that occur when accomplished musicians jam in front of thousands of appreciative fans, with everyone in a good mood, all of it captured by a sound engineer who knows his way around a board. Songs are sprinkled liberally with sizzling piano, saxophone, and guitar (check out the six-string frenzy on “Leap of Faith”), along with McClinton’s earthy harmonica rides.

The song collection, including “I Wanna Thank You Baby,” “Back To Louisiana,” and “Giving It Up For Your Love,” represent the former Jacksboro Highway bar band veteran who backed up traveling blues artists such as Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed when they came through town; played harmonica on Bruce Channel’s 1962 hit “Hey! Baby”; toured England and gave harmonica tips to a then-neophyte harpist John Lennon before the Beatles ever came to America; became a John Belushi and Saturday Night Live favored musical guest in the 1970s, a pop radio stalwart in the 1980s, and a Grammy winner in 1991. The new millennium has been even kinder, with several fine albums and two Grammy nominations (including a win for 2001’s Nothing Personal), and at age 62 McClinton finds himself garnering acclaim that stretches from L.A. to New York to Europe and back to Fort Worth, where he remains a favorite son who still knows how to rock a joint.

With Dave Milsap Sat at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. 817-212-4280.


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