Babylon Is Falling
Delta Moon is arguably the finest “swamp rock and blues: group around. Babylon is Falling,” their 10th album is both comfortably familiar and different enough to please any fan and let casual listeners know what they have been missing. There are 5 original songs and 6 covers, so finely integrated that they all now belong to Delta Moon.
The album opens with Tom Gray leading the call and response of “Long Way To Go,” which immediately evokes the Deep South and yet feels timely for everyone everywhere. It is followed by “Babylon is Falling,” based on an old Shaker hymn but with updated lyrics to reflect today’s political and cultural upheaval. It also is enhanced b the call and response on the chorus.
Taking a turn to the personal, Gray then tackles Marvin Gaye’s classic “One More Heartache.’ It took brilliance to think of slowing this song down and turning it into blues. Surprisingly it suits Grays gravely voice perfectly.
The next song is an original penned by Mark Johnson, the other founding member of Delta Moon with Gray. It’s an easy rocking little number called “Might Take A Lifetime,” with some great guitar. Next, it’s time to have some fun with the great R.L. Burnside’s “Skinny Woman,’ with Jonson happily trading licks with Gray’s lap steel.
“Louisiana Rain” is a lesser-known song by Tom Petty, but it’s an album favorite for me here, as the band delivers a gorgeous acoustic version with truly stellar slide guitar perfectly accenting Gray’s poignant vocal delivery. Then it’s back to a lighter tone in “Little Pink Pistol,” all about a tough girl who can rescue herself!
Then it’s back to the Deep South tradition for the gospel blues favorite “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Showing the band’s versatility, they follow by getting deeply blue, Chester Burnet style, on his “Somebody In My Home,” with Gray blowing blues harp and snaring like he’s standing in a juke joint instead of a studio.
Things turn upbeat for the boogie tune “One Mountain At A Time,” all about keeping on keeping on. The closer, “Christmas Time in New Orleans” features that amazing Delta Moon staple of copying Gray’s vocal on slide guitar and also uses that effective deep harmony on the chorus. It is so descriptive you may find yourself planning a holiday trip!
There are no big surprises here, but with a group as versatile as Delta Moon, you don’t need or even want them Just sit back and enjoy. After the first listening, this album already felt like an old friend, one that I can’t wait to visit again!