If you've ever wondered what it would sound like if you threw country, rock, funk, jazz and a double dose of blues into a blender and hit puree, you should probably acquire a taste for Delbert McClinton's musical melange. In the hands of a lesser chef, mixing all those ingredients might cause an explosion or at least a messy kitchen, but McClinton whips up a tasty confection on this, the three-time Grammy winner's first studio album in four years, full of energy, wit and something he's not known for - subtlety.
If you've heard McClinton's music before then you know how blues-drenched it is. If his music was a pizza pie, the blues would be mozzarella, but McClinton allows the jazz notes to season tracks like Until Then while the country flavor comes through more on Can't Nobody Say I Didn't Try. And when he reworks a recipe as on Mama's Little Baby, a rollicking update of the old folk tune Shortnin' Bread, it doesn't sound like warmed-up leftovers, but more like a brand new entree. His trademark humor is well represented as well on tunes like Willie and People Just Love to Talk
Maybe it's because he's back in the kitchen with super-producer Don Was, who manned the mixing bowl on his first Grammy winner ("Good Man, Good Woman" with Bonnie Raitt) but not only is McClinton in fine vocal form, his songwriting shows a new depth. On Wouldn't You Think (Should've Been Here By Now), McClinton shows a novelist's deft touch in this tale of a guy who can't admit what every listener has already figured out.