Delbert & Glen - Blind, Crippled, and Crazy (Review)

Delbert & Glen are Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark, the former a well-known and highly respected country/rock/blues music wrangler influential far and wide and, in that, something of a John Prine, Hoyt Axton, or similar free spirit largely falling out of whatever category you try to shove him into. The latter is a cat McClinton's long been buds with but hasn't worked beside since '73, under the same name they've resuscitated here. The result brings luster to both gents…if, that is, honky-tonkin' country folk from the delta, and just as much from the Texan plains, often as gloriously sloppy as the Stones and Faces can be called 'lustrous' and still appease the dictionary. More, Blind, Crippled, and Crazy is a rockingly big stride back to the elder of days, and if I told you the CD had recently been rescued from the cans, lost from a forgotten '74 gig, you'd not doubt me for a moment. Thus, if'n you pine for the high holy days - emphasis on 'high' - of the Grateful Dead, Stoneground, Moby Grape, and so on, redemption is here, brother and sister, so pass the communion wine around and drink deeply.

Ah, but then there's "Just When I Need You the Most", where Country Joe, Jimmy Buffett, Gene Clark, Neil Young, and the balladeers come sailing in, mellow 'n hurtin', looking to the rustle of skirts, lipstick smiles, and a soft hand to make it past the bad times. A very strong waft of Robbie Robertson and The Band crops up in this cut and elsewhere, and much of Blind would've provided a most excellent follow-on to Stage Fright had it appeared then. But it didn't, it's here and now, and, man, is it ever needed! As the culture and globe careen out of control, the CD provides respite and reminiscence, a time machine back to better times, even as conflicted as they were. I mean, shit, who the hell, even the most cynical (me!) amid the morass of the VietNam War - oops! SORRY! I meant 'police action' and, geez, I hope to hell the NSA didn't catch that slip - could've predicted that Orwell would be 100% on the goddam money in our own lifetimes??? Well, forget all that for the moment, accompany Sherman and Peabody through the shimmering portal and get down 'n scruffy with the gang, y'all.

I own a half dozen McClinton releases, but none of them is quite like this one. Glen Clark brings a hell of a lot to the table in tandem with his much more celebrated pard, trust me, so much so that I'm hoping they repeat the formula again next time out. I like Delb and his stuff, but this is mouth-watering, another sweep of the compass over territory very ably abetted by one funky-ass batch of straw-chawin' sessioneers: Bruce Katz, Anson Funderburgh, Kenny Malone, James Pennebaker, and a number of others. My fave cut? I think it's "More and More, Less and Less", a cut that could have easily have been written by Bruce Cockburn and carries a melancholically eerie atmosphere that sticks in the mind. Don't hold me to that, though, 'cause all the Faces vibes here are knocking me back in my shoes. I've been returning lately to that Rod 'n da boyz set of rousty brilliance etched into sacred vinyl, and Blind, Crippled, and Crazy reprises some of the elusive qualities we hear so very little of anymore. It's quite true, y'know: ya hafta be a consummate professional to be a whiskey-slinging slop band and make people shout for more, so that weird howl you're hearing right now from SoCal is me, bouncing off the walls and yelling "Bring it, boys, I'm rrrrrrrrrrready!".

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