Blues Revue, Art Tipaldi (US) 2013
Hans Theessink & Terry Evans
Delta Time (Blue Groove) You won’t find a better acoustic blues album. Art Tipaldi
Few things are as pure as human voices augmented with acoustic instrumentation. Hans Theessink, one of Europe’s most respected keepers of the blues, and Terry Evans continue to celebrate the devine approach of their partnership. Delta Time is a perfect follow-up to their first pairing, Visions, released in 2008. The record is a mixture of Theessink originals (six) with time honored blues fare. Musically, Theessink plays guitars, banjo, mandolin and harmonica while Evans adds his own guitar and guest Ry Cooder joins the duo on three songs.
The title track opens the record with Theessink strumming a soft John Lee Hooker boogie as Evans, Arnold McCuller and Willie Greene Jr. answer in three part harmony about leavin’ the city and headin’ to “delta time”. Theessink and Evans’ vocal blend follows on the Delmore Brothers’ “Blues Stay Away From Me”. Their clear and straightforward interpretation, with Cooder’s added slide guitar, is a reminder of the organic nature of early music like this. Another blues classic, Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too”, offers an acoustic reading that focuses on the emotional power of vocal duo. Musically, the guitar and mandolin pairing recalls the days of rural string bands like Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell.
They also step lightly with Evans taking the lead vocals on the ’65 pop hit, “The Birds And The Bees”.
For almost nine minutes, Evans testifies his life experiences of living in a world ruled by Jim Crow segregation on “Down In Mississippi”. Evans has recorded this before, but here it takes on new meaning with his spoken introduction and Theessink’s dark assertive guitar. On Theessink’s “Shelter From The Storm”, Cooder’s effortless slide and the sacred male chorus back Theessink’s brooding vocals. Evans shows off his soul side on “Pouring Water On A Drowning Man”. Behind Evans’ tender voice, Theessink’s delicate fingerpicking creates the friendly back porch vibe.
Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do” is delivered as Brownie and Sonny might have performed it in a ’60s college coffee house. The CD closes with “Mississippi”, Theessink’s ten-minute travelogue through the blues cathedrals of the Magnolia state. By featuring acoustic slide, harmonica, handclaps and gospel chorus responses to Theessink’s name calling, it runs like a blues train headin’ to where “the Southern crosses the Yellow Dog”. You won’t find a better acoustic blues album. Art Tipaldi