According to Delbert McClinton, Blind, Crippled and Crazy has been discussed between him and singer/songwriter Glen Clark for a decade. The pair recorded two terrific records in the early '70s: Delbert and Glen in 1972 and Subject to Change in 1973. These set a blueprint for the paths both artists would follow separately. McClinton, of course, created his own genre, seamlessly melding country, blues, funky Texas R&B, and rock in his singing and songwriting. Clark would become a major songwriter -- Rita Coolidge, Wynonna Judd, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, the Blues Brothers-touring and session player. Blind, Crippled and Crazy feels like a logical third step for this pair. The only thing giving away the breach in time is their voices, which are naturally older and more seasoned; this doesn’t mean there isn't plenty on offer: there is more than enough range, swagger, humor, and emotional depth to set any juke joint on fire. After four decades, that trademark blend of phrasing and harmonizing is still seamless. Co-produced with McClinton's songwriting partner, guitarist Gary Nicholson, the three each wrote or co-wrote about half the tracks here in various combinations, covering most of the record. The sound is immediate, gritty, and warm -- unlike most records cut in Nashville these days. Standout tracks include the good-time, self-deprecating, honky tonk blues of "Been Around a Long Time" with a great fiddle break by James Pennebaker. The strutting, funky R&B in "World of Hurt" resembles Syl Johnson's Hi sides with Willie Mitchell, with McClinton's harmonica offering some tasty fills. Clark's "Just When I Need You Most" is a moving country love song that would have been great for the Eagles in their prime. McClinton's solo vehicle, "More and More, Less and Less," is a midtempo rocker almost smoldering with wisdom and world-weariness. "Tell My Mama" is a rocking R&B burner with honky tonk piano and razor-wire guitars. "Good as I Feel Today" is a stellar country rocker tinged with blues and soul; it's so timeless, it could have come from the duo in Austin in the early '70s. For any fan wary about the particular brand of rugged, raucous, soulful magic these duo created being recaptured, have no fear. Blind, Crippled and Crazy is solid, lyrically, vocally, and musically, top to bottom. - Thom Jurek

180 Gram Black Vinyl: Blind Crippled and Crazy (2013)