Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark – Blind, Crippled and Crazy (2013)

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An easy atmosphere of camaraderie, a lived-in sense of community, surrounds this homey reunion, as Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark amble up, sit a spell, and share a few songs. You can almost hear the rocking chair creaking below them on the front porch.

They open with a tough-old-bird blues called “Been Around a Long Time,” trading lyrics like scraggly hound dogs howling at the moon — and setting a homey, loose limbed sensibility for Blind, Crippled and Crazy. “Whoever Said It Was Easy,” a rattling piece of gimlet-eyed relationship advice, confirms it: These guys have fallen back in place with one another with the ease of long-lost brothers.

As such, Blind, Crippled and Crazy is more prone to sly humor — try and keep a smile from curling up your face during the winking “Sure Feels Good” — than it is angry retorts, even amid nasty-grooved tracks like “Oughta No,” “Somebody to Love You” and “Tell Mama.” But this album (due June 18, 2013 from New West Records) isn’t about pushing back against old age, so much as accepting things for what they are, with grace, wit and a little bit of humor.

“World of Hurt” boasts a simmering groove — allowing both men to explore the darker areas of their voices — and of their hearts. “More and More, Less and Less” and “If I Could Be Your Lover” skip along with the world-weary angularity of a lost J.J. Cale classic, before “Just When I Need You the Most” settles into a gospel-tinged stoicism. “Good As I Feel Today,” with its rollicking Longhair piano signature, might be this album’s back-slapping high point, an anthem for making the best of what you’ve got.

After some 40 years apart, it was hard to know what McClinton and Clark might return with. After all, their 1972 collaborations for Clean Records were a life-time ago. It’s clear, however, that their bonds have remained strong, even as McClinton became a three-time Grammy winner and Clark went on to play with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, the Blue Brothers and others.

“Keep your expectations under control,” they offer in the album opener, “and you just might surprise yourself to see how far you’ll go.” Blind, Crippled and Crazy blew past them all.

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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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