Delbert McClinton – The Definitive Collection (2006)

Posted by Green on January 31, 2022as


In 1999, Hip-O Records, the reissue arm of Universal Music, issued a Delbert McClinton title in its Ultimate Collection series that contained 18 tracks and spanned McClinton’s solo career from 1975 to 1997. Seven years later, Hip-O has taken another crack at a McClinton best-of for its The Definitive Collection series and improved on that earlier disc. (In the interim, there was also a 12-track McClinton compilation as part of the discount-priced 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection series and a good covers set, Genuine Rhythm & the Blues.) The Definitive Collection includes 17 of the 18 tracks found on Ultimate Collection, the only exception being “Shot from the Saddle,” and the newer disc adds another five tracks, including McClinton’s famous harmonica performance on the 1962 Bruce Channel hit “Hey Baby” and the Delbert & Glen chart entry “I Received a Letter.” That makes The Definitive Collection the most comprehensive McClinton compilation yet, but it still isn’t definitive, much less ultimate. The problem is that McClinton has been on too many record labels, and while Hip-O has licensed material from Atlantic and Capitol to go along with material from Smash, Clean, ABC, Capricorn, and Alligator that apparently now resides in the Universal vaults or was otherwise acquired, there is still one important part of his discography missing. McClinton’s 1990s tenure on Curb Records isn’t here, meaning that such songs as “Every Time I Roll the Dice” and “Tell Me About It” are not included. (Neither is the Capitol recording of “Good Man, Good Woman,” McClinton’s Grammy-winning duet with Bonnie Raitt, or anything from his affiliation with New West that started in 2001.) The best of Delbert McClinton still hasn’t been captured on a single CD, but this is the closest anyone has come so far.(Review by William Ruhlmann)

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