Frank Morey – The Delmark Sessions (Delmark, 2002)
I gave this one a spin for the first time in a while and was pleasantly surprised how much I still liked it. Morey is a bluesy singer-songwriter with a heavy Tom Waits vibe. It’s interesting that he turned up on Delmark to record, since that label is usually pretty purist in their blues and jazz offerings.
The Waits comparison is really hard to completely forget – Morey’s voice has the same whiskey ruined quality and the stones and bones percussion recalls some of Waits more recent work as do lyrical references like the whiskey’s been talkin’ not me… in the tune “Dry Up.” But Morey cannot be dismissed as a copycat, his music embraces the blues of Howlin’ Wolf and Lead Belly (apparently the Ledbetter estate prefers the two-word spelling) was well as the rough romantic streak and risk-taking of Waits.
If you’re a Waits fan or if you have a hankering for some unusual blues-rock with quirky lyrics, this is well worth your while. It does start to drag a little bit in spots, since the disc clocks in at nearly a full seventy-five minutes. It leaves you wondering a if Moery thought that this might be his one shot and he wanted to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. But the strong outweighs the weak and this is worth a listen.
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