Pete Whalley at Get Ready to Rock! (October 5, 2020)
Delta Tales is the debut from Texan singer/songwriter/pianist John Blangero – a ‘stereophonic recording’ steeped in the traditions of southern rock and country soul primarily influenced by the arrangements, vocal stylings, and big band vibe of Leon Russell and Joe Cocker.
An Americana/southern soul/classic rock type of album packed with memorable hooks, rocking piano, driving rhythms, a powerful horn section, and soulful female backing singers’, Delta Tales was recorded over four months from January 2020 to mid-May with lockdown forcing Blangero and producer Ace Acker to complete the production remotely with players and recording in several different locations.
Sounding like it was recorded in the early 70s, it captures Blangero’s retro vision of great backing singers, classic horn parts, tight rhythm sections, killer guitar lines, funky keys supplementing his own acoustic piano parts and singing Joe Cocker would surely approve of.
With a superb supporting cast, Delta Tales has a real period authenticity that falls somewhere between Tom Jones and Joe Cocker at the peak of their powers, although my wife did suggest there were hints of Elton John in places. A fair point.
It’s a marvellously constructed record, and a fabulous recording. My only criticism would be whether there’s a ‘classic’ tune lurking, and whether there’s any real audience beyond those who lived through the era. But for those who did and yearn for the sounds of their youth, Delta Tales is a thrilling ‘time capsule’ of a record. ***1/2