Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews

Darren Jay And The Delta Souls – Drink My Wine

A healthy shot of Southern blues…and then some!

Published on August 14, 2012

Darren Jay And The Delta Souls – Drink My Wine – 47:07 ****: 

(Darren Jay – guitars, vocals; Laura Cupit – bass, tambourine, vocals; Tony Thomas – organ, piano; Hubert Crawford – drums; Wayne Jackson – trumpet; Art Edmaiston – tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Rodd Bland – drums; Chris Cloys – vocals)

After leaving the service, Darren Jay returned to Pensacola Florida to pursue his true calling, playing the blues. Soon he was a fixture on the local circuit and released his first album, Panhandle Blues.  His next move was recording with Stacy Brooks (Love Peace And The Blues) in 2008. He has released two additional projects, Further Up That Road and Bluesman USA, and is part of the Memphis blues culture. Currently deployed with the U.S. Navy Reserves, Jay will return later this year. For now, he has left a musical keepsake.

Fronting a tight band of Memphis-based players, Drink My Wine wastes no time in tearing it up. The opening instrumental, “Rider” puts the foot down on the accelerator and never lets up. With a smoking, electrified rock groove this cohesive band raises the roof. Jay’s guitar lead is audacious and crisp. The rhythm section of Laura Cupit (bass), Hubert “H Bomb” Crawford and Tony Thomas (organ) stay connected through tempo brakes and rolling grooves. The hard, blues-rock edge continues on “Workday Blues”, as the listener is introduced to Jay’s intense vocals. The addition of a wailing horn section lays on a strutting, Memphis-Stax vibe that intermingles with funky guitar grooves. The title cut smokes with the quartet jamming hard, until a slow-burning time change that segues back into the main flow. This music is not subtle and is made to be blasted at high volume. When you listen to the hooks on “Lovin’ Man” getting swept away in a dancing frenzy is a possibility.

Nearly all of the tracks are original compositions (nine out of the eleven tracks) that reflect the various textures of the Memphis scene. “Too Late Baby” is classic late fifties/early sixties blues swagger. The horn arrangements are muscular, but never interfere with the core of the instrumentation: Jay’s guitar. Cupit and Chris Cloys contribute some classic call and response backup vocals.  Without losing any rhythmic ferocity, Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” has the feel of a Delta swamp rocker. A nice touch is the electronically distorted vocals. This is possibly one of the greatest blues songs ever written and continues to be revived over and over. In keeping with Memphis traditions, “(Baby) Don’t You Lose My Number” conjures up memories of classic rock and roll from Sun Studios. Thomas executes a piano run that would make Jerry Lee Lewis howl with delight. The final song, “River’s Edge” is relentless with countrified licks that are underscored with screeching, Allman Brothers licks.

Darren Jay is not trying to reinvent the Memphis sound. He is a messenger, and Drink My Wine comes across loud and clear.

TrackList: Rider; Workday Blues; Drink My Wine; Lovin’ Man; Too Late baby; Hoochie Coochie Man; Everybody Get Together; Tin Pan Alley; (Baby) Don’t You Lose My Number; Zilla; River’s Edge

—Robbie Gerson




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