Recorded for Norwegian radio on a night when he and his band were exploding with funk, blues, and rock, Delbert McClinton's first live album both explains his recent acclaim and begs the question of why it took so long for everyone to appreciate what he's been laying down for the last three decades. Live
borrows from the past on a fiercely smoking rendition of McClinton's 1980 R&B classic, "Giving It Up for Your Love," and "B-Movie Boxcar Blues," energized by an extended blues jam that features Delbert wailing and moaning on his harp like nobody's business. The set also takes a firm stand in the present with the grooving, horn-fired southern funk of "Leap of Faith" and lays on the heartbreak in two beautiful, blues-based tear-jerkers, "Don't Want to Love You" and a wrenching cover of Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember." That's the template for a memorable night, although the emphasis is clearly on the up-tempo killers. Already wise to his most recent studio gems, the Grammy-winning Nothing Personal
and 2002's powerhouse Room to Breathe,
McClinton fans will find much to chew on in the soul stews of "I Wanna Thank You Baby," "New York City," and "A Fine and Healthy Thing," among others. Until his next round of new material surfaces, Live
is one steamroller of a career overview.