Delbert McClinton returns to the studio for the first time in three years for a new label and serves up the same old thing—the most informed and honest bastard child of country music and blues one could hope for.
I saw Delbert McClinton at the now defunct Little Roxy in Little Rock, Arkansas in the exceptionally hot summer of 1984. He had his big band, horns and all. He played "Two More Bottles of Wine", "The B-Movie Boxcar Blues" and "Lipstick Traces". I thought, "Can it get any better than this?" I have spent a good deal of time away form McClinton's music while always hearing it respectfully over the past 20 years. Twenty years...that is half of McClinton's performing life. On the road since the early 1960s, McClinton is almost like a myth, having been everywhere and done everything and gotten all of the tee shirts to prove it.
is McClinton's first independent recording in a number of years. This change has offered him more creative control and it shows. When listening to the disc opener. "Livin' It Down" began to compare it to his last song to get airplay, "Every time I Roll the Dice". The production on Nothing Personal
is scaled down significantly as compared to past releases. It also contains all original tunes penned by McClinton and/or Gary Nicholson, who also produced the disc with McClinton. "Livin' it Down" is basically the metaphysical flipside of "Every Time I Roll the Dice." Witness how
My ship came in and she sunk it; I was the toast of the town and she drunk it. I had a run of good luck and she ran it right into the ground...
differs greatly from:
Her love has no strings, hackles or chains, but I'm holdin' on for dear life. It's like rollin' a seven every time I roll the dice...
Sounds like things at the McClinton house have changed a bit.
turns out to be very personal. Personal songs of love lost ("Livin' It Down", "Nothing Lasts Forever", to love found ("Birmingham Tonight"). "When Rita Leaves" is the perfect antithesis to Warren Zevon's "Carmalita". Rita does not hold her no-account man tighter on the out skirts of town, she drives his vintage Ford Mustang there... and burns it. There are also those songs of Lust ("Squeeze Me In", "All Night Long") that reveal how clever Country & Western song writing can be. This is all music with a roadhouse grind that is perfectly played and heard in one's convertible, with the top down, driving 100 miles an hour.
Personnel: Delbert McClinton: Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica; Lynn Williams Drums; George Hawkins: Bass; Todd Sharp: Guitar; Gary Nicholson: Guitar; Kevin McKendree: Keyboards, And A Cast Of Thousands.