Deltahead McDonald,
Blues on the Slide
(Blues Religion, 2002)

Deltahead McDonald is a human jukebox of the original Delta blues style. He performs acoustic blues songs of the folk blues masters: Robert Johnson ("Walkin' Blues," "Come On in My Kitchen"), Charlie Patton ("Tom Rushen Blues"), Son House ("Empire State Express," "Grinnin' in Your Face"), Blind Willie McTell ("World's Made a Change") and more.

Like the early recordings of John Lee Hooker, this is simply a solo performance of a man singing, playing guitar and stomping his foot for occasional percussion. The style is nothing like Australia and everything like the rural American South that it honors.

The part that is Australia is the Australian-made Beeton Brass Body Resonator Guitar (National Biscuit Cone) on which McDonald plays bottleneck slide. The baker's dozen of songs here are delivered in a patient and melodic style, brightly played by this lowlands master from down under.

McDonald is justifiably proud that this is recorded in "live" in the studio -- that is, with no overdubs. The lead track is "Evil on my Mind," which Johnny Winter did in overdub on his own recording. No overdubs here, just a natural, fluid delivery. "Come On in My Kitchen" comes out patient and slow as molasses in a husky drawl. Despite the vocal styles, it's on the crisp playing on that resophonic that Deltahead really excels. The first original on this album, "Radiator Blues," starts with a long intro, gently sparkling off the strings off that guitar.

- Rambles
written by Tom Schulte
published 29 March 2003

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