Black Keys

REVIEW: The Black Keys “Delta Kream”


The Black Keys – Delta Kream

If you aren’t a fan of the blues or classic blues rock, you can stop reading right here. However, if you are a fan of either of those genres, this will be worth your read. The Black Keys in the makeup of this release Delta Kream include Dan Auerbach on vocals and electric guitar, Patrick Carney on percussion, Ray Jacildo on organ, Sam Bacco on auxiliary percussion with special guests Eric Deaton on electric bass and Kenny Brown on electric guitar.

Released on Nonesuch Records and recorded live at Easy Eye Sound Studios in Nashville, the album was  produced by Auerbach and Patrick Carney. Because the packaging is sparse with no liner notes and basic track listings it is hard to determine exactly what transpired. However, the cover art is creative and was taken by the renowned photographer William Eggleston and may refer to what comes across on the album.

The 11 tracks at a run time of 54 minutes and 22 seconds are all blues covers of traditional Mississippi blues artists as reinterpreted by the Black Keys paying tribute to the originators of the Delta Blues and there appears to be no cutting of corners when it comes to the music itself.

What makes it different though is the electricity and depth of the sound. At the same time, it was a very familiar sound and could be compared to “Cream” of the mid-sixties who were famous for the re-invention of traditional blues. Comparable, as in, could be equated to, or even mistaken for. It’s that good. Wherein, the album title comes into play with no explanation.  

Track listings include:

“Crawling Kingsnake” by John Lee Hooker and Bernard Besman

“Louise” by Mississippi Fred McDowell  

“Poor Boy A Long Way From Home” Robert Lee Burnside

“Stay All Night” by David Kimbrough Jr.

“Going Down South” by Robert Lee Burnside

“Coal Black Mattie” by Ranie Burnette

“Do The Romp” by David Kimbrough Jr.

“Sad Days, Lonely Nights” by David Kimbrough Jr.

“Walk With Me” by David Kimbrough Jr.

“Mellow Peaches” by Joseph Lee Williams

“Come On and Go With Me” by David Kimbrough Jr.

For those of you unaware, the Kimbrough and Burnside names are as synonymous with the Delta Blues as is Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Auerbach in trying to keep it as honest to the roots of the originals added Deaton and Brown to this incarnation of the Black Keys. Deaton has played with R. L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and T Model Ford and Kenny Brown has played with R. L. Burnside and Cedric Burnside. That’s about as close to the roots as you can get and it shows with the song selections and lineup.  

The corporate media might not appreciate the depth of this release but, this will no doubt go down as a classic in the blues and blues rock genres and Auerbach did an amazing job of keeping it true and at the same time reinterpreting the originals to keep them fresh from their mentors. Hopefully, it will bring people back to listening to the old school masters just like Cream did in the mid-sixties. And, whether there is a connection between the album title and the band, only Auerbach knows for sure.  

Delta Kream can be found at all the digital streaming music services and at the Black Keys homepage









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