“Music’s always been a dominant force for me.”
Delbert McClinton’s been doing the blues for quite a many years. Playing behind some of the original players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Sonny Boy Williams while he was in the Straitjackets. Delbert says he ‘was in the right place at the right time, that’s where and when and what I learned, and still do” He says he loves all kinds of music including music from the 30’s and 40’s, the swing music and that stuff. It that just warms him and takes him back to his childhood, growing up in the 40’s with war music. “Music’s always been a dominant thing for me.”
Delbert relayed a childhood memory from Armistice day: “I had a wonderful childhood, but we didn’t have any money, but I didn’t know that, I didn’t care. I remember Armistice Day when everyone was so excited about the end of the war. I was sitting on the porch with my grandmother and a soldier came by, stopped, took off his tie and gave it to me and kept walking. At that time my Dad was in a military hospital because he broke his back. Momma and I went to Louisiana to the military base. People were in tents, armed guards everywhere and German prisoners of war. I was just a kid, didn’t really know what was going on, but it was exciting and the memory still stays.”
One of Delbert’s recent releases ‘Acquired Taste’ does have that upbeat, positive swinging influence. He reunited with his songwriting partner of the 70’s, Glen Clark, to record the latest album. It took about ten days to record and mix the record in California, but it just did not sound right. So they all went to Mexico for a week to write some more, returned to the studio and recorded the album in two days.
Delbert says he always enjoyed writing with Glen, swapping ideas and learning more about songwriting. One of the big things he learned is “not to be afraid to be humbled.” His lyrics are more on the upbeat positive side because he hates sad endings and songs without hope.
The 72 year old life-long musician says he’s now at the age where he doesn’t make music to try to impress anyone, he just does it for the love of music.
Hear more about Delbert’s songwriting process, working with Glenn and his roots in the blues in the above player.