Delbert McClinton

Second Wind/Keeper of the Flame

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This two-fer represents both albums Delbert McClinton cut for Capricorn Records, which was to close its doors for the first time in 1979. Esteemed producer Johnny Sandlin was on board for both recordings and brought unique touches to each. On Second Wind he brought the entire Muscle Shoals rhythm and horn sections from Alabama to Macon and enlisted a host of other studio hotshots -- including himself on lead guitar. From the salacious "B-Movie" to the a new take on the Taj Mahal/Jesse Ed Davis arrangement of "Corinna," to McClinton's own "Lovinest Man" and a sultry read of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," the album was pure Dixie-fried grease and gravy. Keeper of the Flame was recorded in L.A. with McClinton's road band, bassist Willie Weeks, a trio of backing vocalists, the incredible pianist John Jarvis, and B sharp whiz Old Joe Walk (both of whom drove the album). It's a more laid-back affair, less raw and immediate perhaps, but what it gives up in punch it more than compensates for in material, emotion, and delivery. McClinton's own version of "Two More Bottles of Wine" registers here as far superior to any other as it comes from the bottom of the grain in his voice. Unlike Emmylou Harris' version, this is not a party anthem, but a "sh*t at least I still have this and that's OK" statement of acceptance. In addition are Don Covay's two classics, "See-Saw" and "Have Mercy," as well as Glen Clark's "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore," Doc Pomus' killer "A Mess of Blues" (that McClinton goes over the top to deliver the full emotion in), and a reinvented version of Chuck Berry's "I'm Talkin' About You." Here are two awesome recordings from the beginning of McClinton's prime for a great price with great sound and notes.

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