Darren Jay and the Delta Souls – Drink My Wine (2012)

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There’s not much Memphis blues traveler Darren Jay can’t do, as his varied, deeply absorbing Drink My Wine makes abundantly clear.

Due September 18, 2012, Drink My Wine finds the U.S. Navy reservist — currently serving in Kuwait — opening on a tear with “Rider,” this tasty instrumental with just the right amount of grease. Darren Jay’s sound is close, right up front, and so hot your eyebrows are nearly singed. But he’s only just begun to mash down on the gas pedal for what ends up as a very entertaining journey.

Wayne Jackson of the legendary Memphis Horns stops by for a pair of boisterous cuts, the fleet “Workday Blues” and the rumbling “Too Late Baby.” On the first, Darren Jay takes the mic for a rockabilly-inspired romp, while he approaches the second with the easy-going approachability of modern-day B.B. King at his best.

The title track returns to the serrated fighting stance of the opener, but with an even nastier rhythm accompaniment courtesy of the Delta Souls. Darren Jay, meanwhile, adds a menacing slur that would have brought a twinkle to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s eye.

Drink My Wine does include a somewhat perfunctory take on Willie Dixon’s classic “Hoochie Coochie Man,” but even that small misstep isn’t enough to run the high-spirited, deep-grooving Drink My Wine off into the ditch.

“Everybody Get Together” finds Darren Jay hitting the kind of sharply attenuated licks associated with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, before he travels to the very bottom of a brown bottle on the slow-burning Robert Geddins chestnut “Tin Pan Alley.” “(Baby) Don’t You Lose My Number” recalls the rough pre-rock attitude of “Too Late Baby,” while “Zilla” (featuring drummer Rodd Bland, son of the legendary belter Bobby “Blue” Bland) brings to mind nothing so much as the titanic blues-rock menace of the old Edgar Winter Group.

Finally, there’s “River’s Edge,” a easy-picking ride out into the woods. Joined again by the core group of Louisiana-born bassist Laura Cupit, drummer Hubert Crawford and keyboardist Tony Thomas, Darren Jay brings this often entertaining ride through the highways and byways of the blues to a ruminative, heart-felt, deeply satisfying conclusion.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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