Delbert Mc Clinton
" Acquired Taste "
New West Records

Blueswax 8
Rating 8

Acquired Taste? More Like Fine Aged Full-Bodied Wine, (11/11/09)

t's always a special occasion when there's a new release by the multiple Grammy winner Delbert McClinton, and while this disc might not fulfill all your needs, there's more than enough excellent material that satisfies. As usual, the production (thirteen of fourteen produced by Don Was) is high quality as is the musicianship. The one tune not produced by Was is a gorgeous ballad written by Delbert, Guy Clark, and long time cohort Gary Nicholson titled "Starting A Rumour," which is delightful and pure Delbert. Austin legend Stephen Bruton makes (perhaps his last recording) on Delbert's "Can't Nobody Say I Didn't Try." The funky "Do It" is fueled by the soulful keys courtesy of Kevin McKendree, and is one of at least six strong tunes I adored. Acquired Tast does not boast a lot of horns, but they do kick in on "People Just Love To Talk" where Don Wise's horn replacement (Wise is now mostly retired from the road) Dennis Taylor lays down a very strong solo and makes his presence known. "Until Then" co-authored by Delbert, McKendree, and Tom Hambridge, starts out as a ballad and transforms itself into a southern-styled hunk of ribs that sizzles. Most of the grease is ignited from McKendree's piano with heady interplay from guitarist Rob McNelley.

The McClinton/Nicholson "Willie" definitely has that Crescent City feel that derives a bit from Mac (Dr. John) by way of McKendree's honky-tonk eighty-eights. One of this album's rockers has an NRBQ feel to it, and then I knew why. Ex-NRBQ guitarist Al Anderson co-wrote "When She Cries At Night" with Delbert and Bob DiPiero. It's filled with interesting chord changes and neat background vocals from guitarist McNelley. The hilarious "Cherry Street" (also authored by Delbert, Nicholson, and McKendree) is built solidly on a hip vamp, and the lyrics are a scream: "Where you are looking for trouble, trouble is easy to find," says it all as Delbert opines about women and alcohol. By now you get where this is going complete with jive rumblings that include: "Women, can't live with them, can't live without them."

McNeelley's guitar is downright nasty on this very humorous tune, the next to last track on this very fine recording, "Out Of My Mind" (also written by the same trio as "Cherry Street"). It has that smoky late night small club feel with just McKendree's piano and Delbert's vocals searching for ways to get out of his mind. Needless to say, alcohol is once again involved.

So, there you have it, another gem from a sometimes powerful/versatile singer, crafty songwriter and outstanding bandleader who year after year like fine wine gets better with each vintage recording. Many songwriters run out of new tunes, and live off their laurels by touring mostly as a greatest hits band, and while that may be the case for the mighty road tested McClinton band, there's no doubt that their repertoire continues to expand with new material from Acquired Taste. It's Delbert's neat trick, as he continues to impress his fans both in concert (a must see act) as well as on yet another timeless recording. Acquired Taste? There was nothing for me to acquire. This disc hit me immediately right between the eyes, and it felt real good, too!

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at Bob maybe contacted at:

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