As I said here, just recently I’m a bit late to the party with Delaney Davidson, I’ve been aware of him – and I liked that set of duo/crooner records he made with Marlon Williams, and I loved his production/input on last year’s Dynamite! by Tami Neilson. That’s I guess, really, what sold me. So there’s a back-catalogue to now get to but Lucky Guy is the new one by Delaney and his wonderful rhythm section (they’re the guys on Tami’s albums too, Ben Woolley and Joe McCallum). It’s a set of short, stripped back songs – some mean guitar angles cut through, some stomp and swagger from the drums, a bit of C.W. Stoneking’s jungle boogaloo here, a bit of spidery, swampy Dr. John/Tom Waits art-blues bark there.
We get to hear quite a range on this album – country songs in the way Violent Femmes made country songs (Who Will Carry You) and then a subverted Bo Diddley beat that sounds as much like T-Rex as any rhythm’n’blues (Black Bo).
I’ve got a new favourite song any time I hear this – but most often it’s the punkish, new wave snap of Tell It To You. Well, that said, I also love the fall back into country-blues ideals with Wreck on the Highway, the stop-start vaudevillian shenanigans of Five Bucks, a little bit of Chuck E. Weiss in the flavouring there.
Through a range of styles and voices – and with some stinging guitar lines, some swagger from the bass, some laidback shuffles and snapped-shut rhythms on the drums it’s as if Davidson is playing with the skeleton keys in a museum of sounds, opening doors, piecing together the bones of old blues with leftover parts from mangled pop songs. It’s so strong across its 36 minutes that there is not one scrap, no filler. It’s all good here. All very good indeed.