Delbert McClinton (from Outdated Emotion on Hotshot Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Lee Zimmerman)
It seems rather redundant to claim that Delbert McClinton is returning to his roots. After all, McClinton himself personifies a sound that goes back to the very roots of Rock’n’Roll concurrent with the Bluesy bluster that informed that sound from the very beginning. Consequently, the title Outdated Emotion seems something of an oxymoron, because, in fact, McClinton has held true to his seminal style throughout his career.
The fact that he remains as vital and informed now as he did in the very beginning is certainly noteworthy. Given the transience that defines most popular music today, Delbert McClinton’s ability to stay as relevant and respected now as he was some 60 years ago when his harp provided the hook on Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby” and propelled it to the top of the charts and, in turn, turned John Lennon into one of devoted disciples.
Flash forward to the present and the new album, a fine summation of Delbert McClinton’s cumulative career, thanks in large part to a selection of songs that represent the formative foundation on which he built his base. Many are seminal standards — “Stagger Lee”, “Long Tall Sally“, “Jambalaya”, “I Ain’t Got You”, and “Move It On Over” chief among them — while others find McClinton sharing the songwriting credits and ensuring a lingering imprint.
Not surprisingly then, none of these covers noticeably veer from the original renditions. McClinton is a sturdy Bluesman to be sure, but he’s also got the savvy needed to adapt to most any music of a similarly vintage variety, whether it’s the hardcore honky-tonk shuffle of “The Sun Is Shining”, a bluesy ballad like “I Want a Little Girl”, or the slow burning blues of “Connecticut Blues”. It all comes together cohesively, but there is enough verve and variety to allow McClinton to effectively spin into the deeper depths of his own singular style.
As a result, Outdated Emotion is, as its title implies, of an old school pedigree, even as it allows Delbert McClinton to reassert his presence and remind those who may have forgotten of the contributions that still impact modern music. Outdated? Hardly. It’s still essential to be sure. (By Lee Zimmerman)
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