Roots-Rocker Delbert McClinton's Reunion Project

Friday, 10 May 2013 08:13 AM Written by 

On June 18, New West Records releases a new album by Texas roots musician Delbert McClinton, whose 2006 album The Cost of Living won a Contemporary Blues Grammy, reunites him with his collaborator of 40 years ago: singer-songwriter Glen Clark.

The 2012 video shows them reprising "Been Around A Long Time" the album's first track,  onstage. This was shot by fillmaker Jay Curlee who created Rocking The Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey, an award-winning 2007 documentary showing McClinton in action on one of the singer's all-star annual musical cruises.

As Delbert & Glen, their work was largely ignored at the time (as McClinton points out when he introduces Clark). Nonetheless, the records blazed trails on the roots music path a lot more obvious today than they were in 1972-73. And it's no secret McClinton has plenty of fans in Pittsburgh's blues circles. 

Case in point: if you know the Blues Brothers, you know the song "B-Movie Box Car Blues." They got it from Delbert & Glen.  This is their original from a CD reissue of both albums.

I first heard McClinton in 1975 when now-defunct ABC records released his solo album Victim of Life's Circumstances. At that time, with Waylon and Willie breaking out, McClinton pumped out a raw, infectious blend of blues, country, rock and variations on all that and more. Great as it was, it didn't earn him a mass audience.

At the time I was writing record reviews for Country Music Magazine, whose editors found much to enjoy in McClinton's music. What I didn't know was the Delbert & Glen aspect, not until then-reviews editor Nick Tosches, future biographer of Dean Martin and Sonny Liston, sent me a cassette of some older music including a Delbert & Glen tune. I found out about their two albums in 1972-73, tracked down bought both.

Emmylou Harris helped put McClinton on the map with her hit version of his song "Two More Bottles Of Wine." As his solo stature grew, Delbert & Glen remained largely a footnote until they reunited a couple years ago to record this new album.

Here's a bit more of Curlee's footage. The song: Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind."

If the album's anything like this, it should kill.

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