Italy and Spain aren’t usually considered as a hotbed of blues but it is from those climes that a sparkling ‘new’ blues duo originate…Marco Cinelli and Danny del Toro have combined their continental heritage with a deep understanding of the blues to craft twelve varied blues-soaked tracks on their debut release called Delta Overflowin’. You may be familiar with Marco’s work with his brother, Alessandro, from the Babe Please Set Your Alarm release that is reviewed here on Bluesdoodles; Danny has been harping around Europe for a while and has built quite a following of musicians and audiences alike.
This twelve-track debut as a partnership, kicks of in style with Wastin’ No More Time…a good old-time blues with acoustic guitar and harp behind a semi-country vocal melody, and the (I think) drum sticks doing a great washboard impression it is a lovely start: it’s topped off with a harp solo that is fitting, different and rather good. I Don’t Know What Makes Me Love You brings a very short but sweet and simple blues as, again, the acoustic and harp combine in a song with field roots with vocal harp doing some call/response and yet is still up to date and soon gets into your head. The title track, Delta Overflowin’, is stomping, acoustic and harp…simple genius as we again get bang up to date blues that could have been written in the 20s or 30s. The guitar this time is given a bit more space behind the vocal lines and has a crystalline tone that lifts the song even higher. The mournful harp sounds as if it is pleading for rescue and the only thing stopping this being a track of the year is the lack of a guitar solo…in my humble, it sounds so good it shouldn’t have been neglected. Freight Train is a refreshing and lilting country blues with a lack of the locomotive impressions making it all the better…still no guitar solo though but some imaginative and fitting percussion.
Man Ain’t Nothing sounds like Leadbelly with a deep voice and even has clicky vinyl sounds behind it all…it works and I love it! But I have to ask: with some lovely slide behind the vocals and harp…where is the damn solo? Me Gets So Glad may not win anything for grammar but it does provide a catchy acoustic/harp blues that has very clever lyrics around the title and more neat guitar and harp duetting and playing cleverly with the melodies. Three Hours A Night has the feel is one of heavy blues-rock…but acoustic with a standard pattern that has so many subtle differences (including the harp impersonating a rather strident rooster!) and is another stroke of genius that provides 30s blues for and from today. Neither Do I has stomp and slide that, with the harp backing, is fresh from the back porches of yesteryear and irresistible. For All My Sins is gospel and chain gang style blues with handclaps leading into unaccompanied verses and gospel choir choruses…it all comes together so well and reminds of Ry Cooder’s work on the Crossroads soundtrack. Why Babe Why? is more great acoustic/harp interplay over gospel verses…infuriatingly, behind the hummed chorus and harp we get a glimpse of some great guitar work…but not a solo. Praise Your Mother has the vinyl crackles and an on-purpose false start before we get a superb slice of gospel blues and cracking picked and slide guitar backing…no comment! The final track, Winter Obstruction Blues, uses the old blues tropes to magnificent effect and glosses them with a new-old feel that has embodied this whole album.
Despite my moans for guitar solos, I love this album…it is a distillation of all of those blues pioneers brought into this century both lyrically and recording-wise (even with the vinyl crackling on a couple of tracks.) So, if you love your blues crammed full of originality whilst retaining the essence of the 1920s and 30s then you will love this.
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Wastin’ Time No More
- I Don’t Know What Makes You Love Me
- Delta Overflowin’
- Freight Train
- Man Ain’t Nothing
- Me Gets So Glad
- Three Hours A Night
- Neither Do I
- For All My Sins
- Why Babe Why?
- Praise Your Mother
- Winter Obstruction Blues
Marco Cinelli: guitar, vocals
Danny del Toro: harmonica, vocals
Little G Weevil, Alessandro Cinelli, Jorma Gasperi, Tiago Guy, Hugo Deviers
Recorded inLondon and Madrid and engineered, mixed and produced by Marco and Danny. (The iTunes run on track, when I didn’t click stop in time, meant I was treated with the underrated genius that is Marco Bonfanti (who, apropos of nothing, is the spitting image of my nephew, Michael) and the stunningly good Diamonds In The Rust off his Hard Times album…lovely!)