Review of Live Vols. 1 & 2 in Blogfoolk (Italy)

Delta Moon – Life’s A Song – Live Volume One/Turn Around When Possible – Live Volume Two

By Salvatore Esposito

Blogfoolk (Follow this link for the original Italian text.)

Delta Moon arose from a chance encounter between Tom Gray (vocals, guitar and steel guitar) and Mark Johnson (guitar, banjo and counterpoint) in a music store in Atlanta, GA. It was there that they immediately triggered a feeling, and they soon found themselves playing together. The idea to start a band was immediately clear, as well as the group’s name, which came from a trip to Clarksdale, Mississippi. The success was immediate, and in 2003 came triumph at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. But in 2007 came the turning point with the entry to the line-up of the rhythm section composed Franher Joseph (bass and counterpoint), and Darren Stanley (drums). After the huge commercial success of Black Cat Oil of 2012, which allowed them to play all over the world, confirming their reputation as true stage animals, Delta Moon return with a two albums coming out virtually in parallel, i.e. Life’s A Song – Live Volume One and Turn Around When Possible – Live Volume Two, which photograph in an excellent manner the power and energy of their live act, in which the fiery slides of Gray and Johnson accompany the listener in a musical journey that winds from the blues of the Mississippi, the twang of the Appalachians, finally to touch the rock-steady purest. In short, a concentrate of roots music of strong and intense aroma. Listen carefully to catch every nuance of style from this combative quartet. Although the quality of the two discs is similar, Turn Around When Possible is preferred to Life’s A Song, recorded here and there in the states of North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, just because it collects the full concert held May 7, 2013, at Meisenfrei Blues Club in Bremen, but also because of the intrinsic quality of the performances of individual songs. In over fifty minutes from Volume Two there are many songs to remember starting with “Midnight Train” and “Black Coffee” through the excellent “The Wrong Side Of Town” and “Get Gone” up to touching ballads like “True Love Lies,” soaked in Mississippi Delta Blues, of which we can only praise the writing halfway between sulfur stories and romances. Outstanding are also interpretations of “Shake ‘Em On Down” by Fred McDowell, “Hard Times Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James, and the jewel that is “Goin’ Down South” by RL Burnside, but the real surprise is Nightclubbing” David Bowie and Iggy Pop, offered here in a version for all to hear. Closing the album and the concert, “That’s It” emphasizes once again, if ever it were needed, that Delta Moon has talent and energy to spare.

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