Music » Music Stories & Interviews



Delbert McClinton (courtesy photo)

Both physically and aesthetically, Delbert McClinton has always suggested a Texas-born Van Morrison. Both men are stocky and ruddy-faced singers trapped in the frames of construction workers and exuding all the glamour of Bob the Builder. They're both rooted in early R&B, and they've both been known to pull out a blues harp on occasion (though Morrison can hardly match McClinton's established virtuosity on the instrument).

Ultimately, the biggest difference between these two soulful belters - aside from the fact that one hails from Belfast, Ireland, and the other from Lubbock, Texas - is that Morrison has been a spiritual and philosophical adventurer, a complex brooder, while McClinton rarely strays from his Texas roadhouse roots. As a result, McClinton has never approached the transcendent peaks of Morrison's defining records, but he has also avoided the watery depths of Van's more languid, new-agey digressions.


with Seth James
Friday, November 21
Gruene Hall
1281 Gruene Rd.,
New Braunfels
As McClinton's new live album (on New West Records) confirms, Delbert's blue-collar rasp is showing serious signs of wear these days, but he makes the rough edges work for him, investing horn-driven numbers like "Old Weakness (Comin' On Strong)" and "Giving It Up for Your Love" (his lone dalliance with Top 40 radio) with the feel of hard-earned experience.

McClinton's like a sturdy oak tree. He doesn't call attention to himself, and it's easy to take his no-frills mastery for granted. But over a career that's lasted nearly half a century, he has outlasted plenty of pop saplings. •

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.