Hipshakers And Heartbreakers

By Lady K.
June 2016

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Self-produced, 2016

The Delta Generators were ‘born’ in 2008 and they’ve been grabbing attention since they first took to the stage. They won the Boston Blues Society’s Blues Challenge in 2008, which was a prelude to a jaunt to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge in 2009. There the band finished as in the top 10 finalists. They won an Independent Music Award for Best Blues Album (Devil in the Rhythm) and Best Blues Band in Worcester Magazine, both in 2009, and the list of awards just goes on . . . and on. The Delta Generators’ music is huge and it’s not all sit-and-listen music – you’ll need to dance.

The players have remained the same since the beginning. The band is: Craig Rawding (killer vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and songwriter); the guitar genius O’Neal brothers - Charlie (guitars) and Rick (bass); and Jeff Armstrong (drums). Added players on Hipshakers & Heartbreakers include: John Cooke and Dan Kenney (keyboards), and Keri Anderson (backup vocals). Note: I found that when I read what I had written about individual tracks, I’d never mentioned the O’Neal guitars. That’s because it’s hard to pick specific wow-factors; every track is guitar-nirvana, so know that you are going to hear striking guitars doing scary-great stuff throughout the recording.

Hipshakers & Heartbreakers contains10 original tunes, running the gamut from roots rock to blues, soul to Americana. And the Delta Generators are highly listen-able, whatever the genre, but especially (in Lady K’s opinion) when they sing the blues. (Some readers may recall that Lady K is not a twang-kinda person, so ‘roots’ tracks can be problematic for her.)

The first track, “Day That I Met You” is an attention grabber! It’s an up-tempo rocker, listing scary or bad things that might possible happen to people, or that might be on someone’s bucket list: “Got struck by lightning / got drowned in the water / jumped out of an airplane / wrestled with the lion.” But of all those potential events, he met her and sings “We ain’t got a dime, but we sure have a helluva time.”

One of Lady K’s favorite tracks was evidently written when Craig had been having an animal-kind of day, and felt the need to use some ‘stock’ phrases. “Elephant in the Room” is up-tempo and rockin’; explaining that while everyone else can see the realities of life, his lady is living a fantasy: “Pay no attention to the elephant in the room, ignore the crocodile tears on the alligator hide / you want to live your life / you want to live my life / but they are not the same.” Another Lady K favorite is “Way Down”, with its continuous bursts of totally amazing music – new bursts keep exploding and changing the feeling of this track, and Jeff and his drums are especially artistic.

“Bastard’s Lament” is definitely a lament; one lonely guy singing a sob-song, realizing that he’s managed to drive everyone in his life away from him: “Nobody comes to see me no more / postman brings no message to my door / failed as a father / ruined every romance.” – he must have been a real bastard!

Lady K likes the title of track 9 “Tom Waits For No One”; but there’s twang in that there roots tune, and Lady K doesn’t write about twanging tunes.

The slow-tempo’d life lessons in “Something Good” make this track Lady K’s favorite. It explains what our choices are when ‘stuff’ happens: We can “leave it where it lies / shoot it between the eyes / or turn it into something good.” Advice for a life time.

And my advice to you is to run out and buy this CD and add it to your Delta Generators collection.


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