I first saw Delbert McClinton, known simply as Delbert to his many fans, as a college student at the University of Virginia back in the late 1970s. He would swing through Charlottesville working the circuit from Texas though the southeast, with occasional stops in more northern cities and perhaps festivals abroad. But I was lucky enough to see him in relatively tiny clubs that dotted the Charlottesville downtown at the height of a blues revival. It was a great time to be living in that wonderful small city. Clubs like The West Virginian (in the basement of the still existent Virginian restaurant, long closed because it was a fire trap), the Mineshaft, Trax the Mousetrap and others had live music most nights of the week. Delbert would play the larger of these clubs but you were still able to walk right up to the stage, beer in hand. He was great then and he’s still great as he turned 77 this past week. I saw him at B.B. King’s in New York, playing to a very enthusiastic crowd with a fantastic road tested band, the Self-Made Men.
It is said that there are two types of people, those that love Delbert and those that haven’t heard him yet. If you are in the latter group, get to it! His latest album, “Prick of the Litter” is a great place to start.