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DELBERT McCLINTON — THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION (Hump Head) 2CDs

www.humpheadcountry.com

When it comes to value for money, definitive collections of an artist this 45-track compilation has to be one of the best. The material culled from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s is a superb representation of the blues, rockin’ r&b and country blues Lubbock, Texas born performer. Diverse though sounding, harmonica playing singer-songwriter McClinton’s music hasn’t changed much over the years. It could be claimed and rightly so that he is one of a kind, a truly unique act. Unspoilt by success or tends. 

Sure, I would have enjoyed more country leaning material from him, but then that would not be where his heart is. Although Delbert does sound extremely comfortable performing honky-tonk directed material, and with the collection opening with two of his best of the idiom; “Victim of Life’s Circumstances” (Vince Gill does a great cover), “Two More Bottles Of Wine” (recorded by Emmylou Harris back in the days of her Hot Band) and, you can add “Object To My Affection”, while of a real, moody southern feel “Ain’t No More Cane” is as evocative a tale of the region as you are likely to come across. 

While a prolific songwriter, McClinton hears the creations of others with open ears, and with the likes of Jimmie Rodgers’ “In The Jailhouse Now”, bluesmen Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful”, Ellas McDaniel’s (Bo Diddley) “Before You Accuse Me” and rock’n’roll legend, Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and what a cool take he does of Johnny Cash perennial “Big River”.  To go with them you have his own peerless odes “I Received A Letter”, “Take It Easy” and from his more latter years, “Best Of Me” (co-write with Gary Nicholson) and “Monkey Around” (McClinton, Nicolson, Benmont Tench) plus the moody, killer groove weissenborn guitar - harmonica warmed “Better Off With The Blues”. Written with Donnie Fritts and Nicolson it is loaded with riches, not least McLinton's smoky barbed vocals that haven’t changed a bit over the years. 

When it comes to music legends they don’t any finer than Delbert McClinton.  

            Maurice Hope   

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