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Delbert McClinton

Cost of Living – 2005 (New West)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Delbert McClinton

It's an appropriate title for a Delbert McClinton album, considering the blues-country-rock icon now shoulders full responsibility for the success or failure of his music.

Responsibility? To heck with that. The 64-year-old McClinton plays with the joy of a kid some 50 years ago, when he was ready to set the world afire on honky tonk stages with the best blues artists of the day in his native Fort Worth.

McClinton's latest is a classy blend of what he does best. He belts out "One of the Fortunate Few" with full band in tow, shuffles along with a bunch of wine-soaked drunks on "Midnight Communion" and takes a dysfunctional family to task with hard-bitten, rocking "Dead Wrong."

Longtime collaborator Gary Nicholson ably assists with the production, and a crack band consisting of McClinton's road crew and studio aces such as Stuart Duncan deftly slide along to keep pace with McClinton's ever-changing tempos and moods.

We should all enjoy our golden years this much.