Review of Low Down in BluesNews (Switzerland)

Delta Moon – Low Down

BluesNews (Follow this link for the original German text.)

On May 5, the album Low Down from the American band Delta Moon will come out. The occasion of this CD release is a good opportunity to take an ear full of the blues of this band, who have a very unique sound that is as fascinating and intriguing as it is rare in a band. The sound of Delta Moon is unique because the instrument cluster of drums/bass/slide guitar seems unusual. However, only very rarely do the slide players stand out, they caress with so much taste the strings. The rhythm section plays complex syncopations perfectly, and so each title moves your feet. It is a joy. Or in other words: this quartet “faeggt” easy.

The great art of Delta Moon is always to keep the overall sound in mind, so the slide player Tom Gray and Mark Johnson are masters of understatement. Tom Gray also plays keyboards as well as blues harp. Bassist Joseph Franher and new drummer Vic Staff complement the quartet, which despite its new composition sounds like a well-rehearsed ensemble. The songs are units in which all the parts fit together. Even a prolonged guitar solo as in “Nothing Can Tell a Fool” takes no longer than 36 bars and fits perfectly with the song that otherwise, besides bass and drums, is played only with a simple and catchy riff.

Tom Gray is the songwriter of the band, and nine of the titles come from him. On two titles there are also songwriting credits for Johnson and Joseph. To make a full dozen there are three covers: “Hard Time Killing Floor” is a well known evergreen from Skip James; “Lowdown” is a title of Tom Waits (written as a song in one word, as the album title in two). “Down in the Flood” was originally recorded in 1967 by Bob Dylan and The Band and released in 1975 as one of the Basement Tapes. Derek Trucks has also played the song on Already Free. Delta Moon’s version has some big competition, but in no way hides.

The covers are good, but the real gems of the overall very coherent single CD are the original titles. “Open all Night” has a hypnotic rhythm, “Jacky Ray” grooves enormously, and in “Nothing Can Tell a Fool” there is another aspect of songwriting: the great text. These timeless blues lyrics tell of the themes that make up the blues and accordingly could even appear to be covers of unknown old songs. The album blends seamlessly into the great blues tradition.

In summary, this is one of the catchiest albums that I got for a long time, full of excellent music, where each piece has its own charm and the instrumentation is subtle and tasteful, but also remains raw and original. Really an album of a piece. The CD is on the band’s website for US $12.99 or is available through the conventional channels.

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