Delbert McClinton and the Self Made Men: Prick of the Litter

C. Michael Bailey By

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Delbert McClinton is from Lubbock, by way of Fort Worth Texas. I don't suspect that anyone would accuse Texas of being a "Soul" capital of anything. Isn't that Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Detroit, and Philadelphia? How can we account for who may possibly be the best white soul singer? Beginning in 1972, partnering with singer Glen Clark, McClinton began constructing his Texas brand of soul-blues. He wrote "Two More Bottles of Wine," "B-Movie Boxcar Blues, and "Every Time I Roll the Dice" and recorded definitive versions of "Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)," "Shaky Ground," and "I've Got Dreams to Remember." His voice is full of East Texas dust and Lucky Strikes. And, on what I count as his 29th recording, I fine McClinton not going gentle into that good night while being perfectly honest that he is slowing down. At 76 years old, he remains at full capacity. His singing and sense of humor are diminished not at all. Prick of the Litter is about what you would expect form a roadhouse king approaching twilight.

Strangely, or maybe not so, Prick of the Litter recalls exactly what Van Morrison has been doing all his career...smashing genre and making all music his own. McClinton opens the disc with the rave up jump-blues, "Don't Do It." Driven by his horn section and pianist Kevin McKendree's left hand, McClinton strolls through a "done my woman wrong, please forgive me" song seasoned with a sinewy guitar solo offered by James Pennebaker. This is a song you would expect McClinton to sing. That is not true of '20s jazzish "Like Lovin' Used to Be," the NOLA-flavored "Jones for You," and the low-down strut of "Bad Haircut." These songs reflect the singer's deepening humor and admiration for a 2/2 time. "Rosy" is as old-timey has you could hope for. McClinton has embraced these song styles in a grand fashion.

Track Listing: Don’t Do It; Doin’ what You Do; Middle of Nowhere; Skip Chaser; San Miguel; Pullin’ the Strings; Neva; Like Lovin’ Used to Be; Jones for You; the Hunt is On; bad haircut; Rosy.

Personnel: Delbert McClinton: vocals and harmonica; Kevin McKendree: Keyboards James Pennebaker: guitar; Bob Britt: guitar; Mike Joyce: bass guitar; Jack Bruno: drums; Dana Robbins: saxophone; Quentin ‘Q’ Ware: trumpet.

Title: Prick of the Litter | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Thirty Tigers



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