Review of “Life’s a Song – Live Volume 1” in FAME

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Delta Moon - Life's a Song - Live, Vol. 1Okay, it’s the holiday season, and you just might not be the type to give a damn about that, like us atheists and others pains in the asses. In fact, you may even be the kind who knocks back the hard cider, the rum balls, the amaretto-laced cookies, and all the wonderful alcohol doo-dads that come with Thanksgiving and Xmas…and that’s 100% a-okay with me, y’all. In fact, I suggest you swozzle and gorp ’em all down and get in the mood for Delta Moon’s two latest, both being live releases, this the first (you can catch the other critique here). Such ingestion will be especially helpful if you’re a Boomer and wondering just what the fuck’s going on and where all the old sounds went to.

Life’s a Song lays it down straight-line and harks back to the time when Savoy Brown had moved from Chris Youlden to Dave Walker, when Foghat was rising, when John Kay was moving out of Steppenwolf and into his solo work, and when there were a bunch of cool-ass blues bands popping up all over the landscape, some psychedelic as all get-out, others laid back and into a straw-chawin’ grassroots kind of hip hick. Delta Moon’s more the latter in a laze-a-bones manner that isn’t intent on setting the world on fire but instead passing the moonshine around as the sun sets and there are stories to be traded. That’s not to say the boyz don’t gits spunky, as in Black Coffee, but even when that’s so, there’s yet a cooled-back grinning center to everything. Coffee is one of their signature songs, and they take it to town whenever it comes up in the repertoire (you’ll catch it again in Vol. 2 and be happy for the repeat).

Lead guitarist / singer / slide guitarst Tom Gray wrote and co-wrote all the non-standard cuts and then adopted several good’uns alongside: You Got To Move, Goin’ Down South, Shake Your Hips. Like Coffee, Goin’ Down South gives the boys plenty of room to expand and, as the groove sets down into quicksilver cement, Gray goes off on an extended solo, tasty and then some, Mark Johnson tossin’ out very cool back-up on second lead. At 9:01, there’s all kinds of space, so drummer Darren Stanley gets in his chops as well. The disc runs to 75 minutes and ends on the 10-minute Shake Your Hips, providing another jam track, which DM wastes no time laying into. When all’s said and done, you’ll know where at least some of the old sounds I mentioned in the first paragraph indeed have travelled: right to this very CD.

Track List:

  • Hell Bound Train (Tom Gray)
  • Black Cat Oil (Tom Gray)
  • Lonely (Gray / Johnson)
  • Get Gone (Gray / Johnson)
  • Black Coffee (Gray / Johnson / Joseph / Patton)
  • You Got to Move (Fred McDowell)
  • Goin’ Down South (R.L. Burnside)
  • I’m a Witness (Gray / Johnson)
  • Clear Blue Flame (Tom Gray)
  • Stuck in Carolina (Gray / Johnson)
  • Life’s a Song (Gray / Johnson)
  • Blind Spot (Gray / Johnson)
  • Lap Dog (Gray / Johnson)
  • Shake Your Hips (James Moore)
Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.

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