Reviewed by Ian O’Regan
Celebrated three-time Grammy award winner Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men will release their newest recording, Prick Of The Litter on January 27th, 2017. Prick Of The Litter contains 12 new songs that feature the soulful blend of blues, jazz, country and rock that has become synonymous with McClinton’s distinctive style.
And there is much to love here, from the opening hit of smooth blues that promises a modern approach, but stripped of the overworked, overblown ideas that so much of the modern blues canon insists is a viable alternative to actual “Feel”. (Hint: it bloody well isn’t!) It also promises fun – a rare thing in modern blues, it’s a lighthearted piece of simple jollyness that demands that the rest of the album gets a proper spin.
Promise made, challenge accepted. What follows is an undeliably acomplished production that song after song calls to mind my favourite albums by my favourite artists, from Steely Dan to Randy Newman, from John Martyn to Tom Waits, and all the way back around…
But now and again, in the silence between songs – and by the way, MP3 or not, I swear I could hear the crackles and pops of my old record player from waaayy back, that’s how good this album is at tickling the memory and evoking a warm sense of favourite things – just now and again I found myself wondering whether I would actually remember this album, this artist, these songs, or whether I’d have only the memories of all those old warped played-to-death favourites in my collection.
And then the next track starts, and none of those questions matter again. Any album that can generate this much nostalgia for better times, while putting a great big smile on my face right now is all right by me!
So you’ll have to excuse me for a while. I’m off to hang the Do Not Disturb sign and give Delbert another go round… And I heartily recommend that you do the same.