“Black Cat Oil” Review in In a Blue Mood

 
Delta Moon Uses Black Cat Oil
By Ron W
Delta Moon is a blues-rooted Atlanta based band built around the twin slide guitars of Tom Gray (also a notable songwriter who wrote for Cyndi Lauper (Money Changes Everything), Carlene Carter and others) and Mark Johnson. They are a blues-rooted band with echoes blues, country, folk and rock blended to produce a strong roots stew. One can hear echoes of Bob Dylan, Fred McDowell, Blind Willie Johnson, Johnny Cash, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tony Joe White, and Lonesome Sundown. Bassist and backup vocalist Franher Joseph and drummer Marlon Patton fill out the band’s line-up. 

On their new album Black Cat Oil (Red Parlor), Gray contributed 10 of 11 songs heard here (some in collaboration with Johnson and other band members. This writer is familiar with Delta Moon from a prior album, Hellbound Train. In reviewing that I was “struck by a certain Dylan-esque quality to some of the performances in terms of the song imagery and the strong blues feel of the performances.” That observation continues to apply to Gray’s gravelly vocals and the overall cast of the performances such as Neon Jesus, where Gray sings that he wants it to shine on him and people talk about what they think things used to be. 


The crisp rocking Down and Dirty, opens this up as Gray sings about about losing his job and his woman won’t stick by you so just let her go. Up next is Blues In a Bottle, a lament about wishing one could lock the blues up with nice trebly guitar adding atmosphere. The title track is an atmospheric performance about some mythical remedy with the restraint in the biting guitar adding embellishments. Jukin’ is a bluesy-rocker about a place where folks can go and stomp and screaming all around. It is taken at a nice medium tempo, displays how steady the band is and how they do not rush the tempo but play at the right pace.


A rocking rendition of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s Write Me A Few Of Your Lines, is the last track here and on which they adapt for a strong interpretation. It ends an exceptional blues-laced recording.

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