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Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark

Blind, Crippled & Crazy – 2013 (New West)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark

It would seem obvious that a new recording by a band that hasn't recorded together in 40 years could hardly be considered that particular group's "new album." The new Iggy and the Stooges album is great, but it's clearly not the sequel to 1973's "Raw Power. The same paradigm should have held true for the new Delbert & Glen album, "Blind, Crippled and Crazy," given that they haven't been in a studio together since the early '70s. The reason we are forced to listen to this through a different set of headphones is because Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark were ahead of the rootsy blues game when they released their eponymous 1972 debut and 1973 sophomore album, "Subject to Change," and the new album is simply a reaffirmation of how right they were 40 years ago.

McClinton's subsequent solo career and Clark's songwriting/session work were clearly steered by their early partnership, so the biggest change in Delbert & Glen, as reflected on "Blind, Crippled and Crazy," is their perspective due to the number of calendars they've amassed. This is pointed out to humorous effect on the loping lead track, Been Around a Long Time, where the duo argues a semantic point ("I ain't old, but I been around a long time..."), but they follow it up with the energetically kickass Whoever Said It Was Easy, a potent reality check on the nature of love that sounds like an outtake from Rockpile's "Seconds of Pleasure."

The pair's hard won maturity is examined elsewhere (the blues chug of Oughta Know, the atmospheric haze of More and More, Less and Less, the Nawlins slink of Good as I Feel Today) and love gets another look as well (the earthy blues rock of World of Hurt, the contemplative hymn of Just When I Need You the Most). Largely the only difference between Delbert & Glen then and now is the grit that's accumulated in both of their voices over the past four decades. The pair had a pretty clear vision of what they wanted to do in the early '70s, and wound up making a blueprint for the next generations. "Blind, Crippled and Crazy" is solid evidence of the wisdom of that sonic floor plan.