Photographers: Aaron Rapoport; Stephanie Chernikowski; Mark Hanauer.
Although piecing together a definitive set by the prolific and long-lived roots musician Delbert McClinton could seem like folly, this superb collection comes mighty close to being "definitive." Kicking off with Bruce Channel's 1962 hit, "Hey Baby" (on which McClinton plays a mean harmonica), the set chronicles the artist's exploration of blues, country, R&B, rock, and every other American roots style over four-plus decades.
But the amazing thing about McClinton, in addition to his exceptional harp playing, soulful vocals, and fine songwriting, is the ability to make his range of styles sound utterly unified and effortless. He can lay back easy, or drive it hard and rocking, but in McClinton's hands genre distinctions are meaningless: this is good-time music written and performed without concessions to trends or markets. Beautifully selected and compiled, THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION provides an ideal introduction to this Texas music legend.