Delta Moon / Low Down
RockTimes (Follow this link for the original German text.)
By Markus Kerren
Every musician who – either solo or with his band – has sometimes succeeded so far as to be regularly allowed to publish albums will confirm how difficult it is to always keep the quality of the output at the same high level or to surpass it again. Managing that one thing seems effortless for the Atlanta, Georgia, band Delta Moon. Admittedly, I do not know yet all the disks from their back catalog, but what is known to me is a bank for finger licking!
Most of us likely encountered Delta Moon for the first time live on stage. But whoever has experienced this quartet from the southern United States for at least one evening sooner or later has certainly obtained recordings of the combo of the masterminds Tom Gray and Mark Johnson. Since 2007 the bassist Franher Joseph has been on board and since the beginning of 2015 Vic Stafford, a new drummer, sits behind the kit. This disc, however, is further enriched with Marlon Patton on drums, whom we have already heard on the EP Across The Tracks.
This EP however was released only go on tour and only on vinyl for the fans, so that logically four of the six tracks on it are represented also on this CD album. Most of the numbers were again composed by Tom Gray, while Mark Johnson and Franher Joseph joined him on two tracks (“Afterglow” and “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool”). Delta Moon does with the twelve new tracks exactly what the band does best and what makes them one of the best in their genre. Horny, rootsy rock, steeped in blues, which appears to originate from the deepest swamps of Louisiana.
The two guitarists either alternate at sliding or even do this together, with rough, raspy matching vocals perfect for this music, supported by a bass that not only underpins the stories of Gray with class, but at the same time even leads a life of its own. Without intending to do the main composer wrong, the Tom Waits piece “Lowdown” is the absolute firecracker of the disk. Waits’ original vocal melodies (even more refined by Tom Gray) and the stylistics of the title fit so terrific to Delta Moon that you have to fight a chronic desire after first hearing to bring the repeat button into continuous rotation. Awesomely good!
In the direct comparison to these high-flyers, the Bob Dylan song “Down in the Flood” seems almost a little bit under. But this number on second listening develops an extremely cool groove that once caught gets the body automatically vibrating. And to complete the cover songs, the band has also in the program the swampy-sultry “Hard Times Killing Floor Blues”, written by Skip James.
What in Low Down makes but a tip, is that the original compositions have a damn high benchmark and thus make the album from the first to the last note to a winner. How strong the tracks of the EP are has already been written elsewhere, but add to this for rockers (like everyone else) the extremely catchy “Mayfly”, a fine dose of Rock’n’Roll “Afterglow”, the light-footed, lively (winking) “Open All Night”, the phlegmatic, the Kopfkino starter “Mean Streak” and then shortly before the end again the old timey Rock’n’Roll feeling of “Jelly Roll”.
Twelve tracks – twelve hits! Delta Moon has managed to carry off on Low Down the balancing act that every note is seated, nothing seems overloaded and yet everything (and more) is there, exactly what a very fine album needed. Quite a thick tip!