Frankly, the cover of Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Flood” was enough to send this reviewer into raptures. There are few better treats than one of my favorite groups doing one of my favorite songs really well, and with Francine Reed to boot! But the album has much more to offer.
The other covers are equally strong. Tom Waits’ “Low Down” benefits from Mark Johnson’s awesome slide guitar and is a perfect match for Gray’s gravelly voice and sly delivery. Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor” gets an appropriately dark take with eerie steel guitar and resonator enhancing the classic lyrics.
The original songs are just as strong. Delta Moon has gotten its following on the strength of original material and Tom Gray is at the top of his form as a writer here. The album opens with “Wrong Side of Town,” a rocker that proves Gray can not only sing but play a great lap steel as well. “Afterglow” has a New Orleans feel, tasty guitar from Johnson and Gray and great drumming and bass from Marion Patton and Franher Joseph.
The inimitable voice of Francine Reed provides backup on the delightful “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool.” This funky number also features great tom tom from Patton and slide work from Johnson. “Mean Streak” is a tough little number with lots of gravel and attitude.
“Open All Night” is the sort of party song that Delta Moon does so well, with a very cool and danceable rhythm and Gray’s fine harmonica. Voice and guitar follow and complement each other perfectly on the spiraling “Spark In the Dark.” “Mayfly” is a great country-flavored rocker with Anna Kramer providing a smooth duet partner for Gray. “Jelly Roll” has such an authentic classic blues feel that I was surprised to see that Gray wrote it, and “Jacky Ray” is a cool little closer with an early rock and blues feel and some cool bass from Patton and organ from Gray.
Altogether,this is a completely enjoyable release from the band that is perfect for summer. Expect it to find a home on your playlist for months to come.