Delbert McClinton performs October 24 at Gilley's Dallas.
At an age when this ol' Cowtown boy could well have been out to pasture, Delbert McClinton has recently proven himself to be a cunning bull in his second prime. In his late-'70s first day, he embodied all that was cool about North Texas roots music--swing, swagger and soul--while cutting the archetypal ragged bad-boy figure and fronting groups marinated in the barbecue sauce of bar-band groove and agility. A hit with "Sandy Beaches" in the '80s threatened to dull his edge, but with secure maturity McClinton has sharpened back up to grab the golden ring and hold onto it with authority. With his last two studio albums via Austin indie New West and now a two-disc live set, his Jacksboro Highway stewpot of blues, soul, country and jazz simmers as deliciously as it did a quarter-century ago. He may now play backgammon with the boys on the bus instead of visiting Jamaica, Bolivia and Lynchburg, Tennessee--if you get where I'm going--but when McClinton takes the stage it's seriously bad musical bidness in the rough 'n' rowdy style. His classic Texas blue-eyed soul remains so righteous and right in the hip pocket and heart of the matter that T-Bone Walker might have thought twice about following this act. Long may you run indeed.