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ALBUM REVIEW: 'Delta Kream' The Black Keys Electrifying Tribute to Mississippi Delta Blues

Updated: 24 hours ago

'Delta Kream' album cover, album by Black Keys

Today is the 3 year anniversary of the release Delta Kream, The Black Keys 10th studio album, which masterfully pays homage to their roots with a soulful and electrifying collection of blues covers. It makes me laugh because I remember arguing with my bandmates when Black Keys first came out that they're sound was clearly rooted in blues, and they disagreed. Now renowned for their gritty blues-rock sound, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney delve deep into the Mississippi Delta blues tradition, offering listeners a raw and authentic musical experience.

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Delta Kream takes listeners on a journey through the heart of the blues, with each track exuding the raw energy and emotion that defines the genre. From the haunting wails of Howlin' Wolf's "Crawling Kingsnake" to the foot-stomping groove of John Lee Hooker's "Crawling Panther Blues," The Black Keys capture the essence of Delta blues with remarkable precision and reverence.

1.) "Crawling Kingsnake": The album kicks off with a mesmerizing rendition of this Howlin' Wolf classic. Dan Auerbach's haunting vocals and gritty guitar work, combined with Patrick Carney's pulsating drums, set the tone for the rest of the album.

2.) "Louise": The Black Keys channel the spirit of Mississippi Fred McDowell in this soulful track. Auerbach's emotive delivery and Carney's steady rhythm create a hypnotic groove that transports listeners to the heart of the Delta.

3.) "Poor Boy a Long Way From Home": R.L. Burnside's timeless blues anthem receives a dynamic reinterpretation, with Auerbach's soulful vocals and Carney's driving percussion injecting new life into the song.

4.) "Stay All Night": This Junior Kimbrough cover is a highlight of the album, with its infectious rhythm and infectious energy. Auerbach's searing guitar solos and Carney's relentless beats make for an electrifying listening experience.

5.) "Going Down South": This is my favorite track on the album! Auerbach's impassioned falsetto vocals and Carney's primal drumming capture the essence of Burnside's raw and unfiltered style. This one gets stuck in my head like crazy.

6.) "Coal Black Mattie": Super traditional Delta blues song gets a modern makeover, with The Black Keys infusing it with their signature sound. Auerbach's soulful crooning and Carney's propulsive rhythms make for a captivating listening experience. The slide guitar is just killer on this track.

7.) "Do the Romp": The duo channels the spirit of blues legends Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside in this rollicking track. Auerbach's fiery guitar licks and Carney's driving beat evoke the raw energy of Mississippi juke joints.

8.) "Sad Days, Lonely Nights": The Black Keys showcase their versatility with this soulful ballad. Auerbach's plaintive vocals and Carney's understated percussion create a poignant atmosphere that lingers long after the song ends.

9.) "Walk with Me": The album closes with this haunting cover of the traditional gospel song. Auerbach's soulful vocals and Carney's sparse instrumentation imbue the track with a sense of reverence and longing. It's a catchy riff and a strong close, but ultimately not the track I really go back to.

Overall, Delta Kream is a fantastic tribute to the rich musical heritage of the Mississippi Delta. The Black Keys' soulful interpretations and electrifying performances breathe new life into these timeless blues classics, showcasing their deep appreciation for the genre while leaving their own indelible mark.

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