Review of Low Down Big City Blues (USA)

Big City Blues

By Roger & Margaret White

Delta Moon

Low Down

Jumping Jack Records

The band Delta Moon may not seem unusual with its two guitars, bass and drums line up but when Tom Gray and Mark Johnson both break out the lap steels they take this Southern roots band into a groove and you realize this is not your average blues band. Behind the scream of steel, singer/main songwriter Tom Gray’s whiskey soaked refrains add to this atmosphere while Marion Patton’s drums and Franher Joseph’s bass and backing vocals give Delta Moon further depth. With their tenth recording “Low Down,” Delta Moon stays true to its path-less-traveled while plowing ahead into fresh territory.

Of the dozen “Low Down” tracks, nine are originals with the “Wrong Side Of Town” driving towards Southern rock till the slide jumps the tracks while the tribal drums and brassy harmonica break into some greasy fun on “Open All Night.” The hot sweaty licks of dual slide guitars fill the “Spark In the Dark” then the band breaks out with a chugging groove of sad dreams and reflection drifting into the dark corners of “Afterglow” and vents with the sonic blasts of a “Mean Streak.” The bouncy trotting pace and the gospel tinged dueling vocals of Ms Francine Reed drive home the message of “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool” while the lap steel leads, southern twang and exuberant shouts because he’s still got his “Jelly Roll.” The covers on the disc use the familiar sliding steel and rough figures of Tom Waits’ “Low Down” and the Dylan cover of “Down In The Flood” but Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” uses the finger picked guitar and voice to define this country blues then the haunting high singing slide is an organic force that takes on a voice and life of its own.

Delta Moon’s new CD has the contrasts of Southern mellowness with the tension of hard rock and a hard life that gives their blues a “Low Down” glow.

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