Delta Generators

Delta Generators
Live at Jonathan’s Restaurant

By Lady K
January 2014

So, it was especially fun to be in the audience at Jonathan’s Restaurant (Ogunquit, Maine), on October 4th, because I’m pretty sure that not more than 10% of the people present had any idea who/what the Delta Generators were, before the show started. Attendees were there because it was a charity event for Southern Maine food pantries, and/or because they had followed the opening band down from Kennebunkport, Maine. The Wetsuits (Jim O’Neil, Dana Pearson, and Byon Yeatts), did not disappoint their fans. Those present heard an hour or so of the Wetsuits original rocking tunes (with a touch of blues), before the Delta Generators took the stage, and things got intense.

The Delta Generators (out of Massachusetts and Connecticut) are the two O’Neal brothers, Charlie (lead guitar), Rick (aka Rick-o, bass and stand-up bass), Jeff Armstrong (drums) and Craig Rawding, the mesmerizing vocalist. The band doesn’t get up north of the Piscataqua River into Maine too often – once or twice a year – so they aren’t as well known up ‘he-yah’, but they have a bunch of new fans after this show. Very vocal gasps were heard in the audience at the opening notes of “Straw Dog Strut” – an up-tempo raucous, rockin’ blues tune from their first CD.

The guys showed no mercy toward their new fans, playing a tasty array of tunes: some of their own from two earlier CDs, Devil in the Rhythm and Hard River to Row, and a steady stream of other folks’ old and new blues. Elmore James’ “Shake Your Moneymaker,” elicited screams from a good number of the women in the audience. The original Leiber-Stoller version of “Hound Dog” brought some head-bopping into the crowd, and gave Rick a chance to show off his sexy new stand-up bass. Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil’s Goin’ On” had the crowd on their feet, and Craig dropping to his knees, totally into the feel of the song. Hound Dog Taylor’s “Gimme Back My Wig” had people singing along, dancing along; just having a great time.

And yes, the Delta Generators have a brand-new CD out, and they played a number of those tunes.

One tune that stands out in Lady K’s memory from the show is “Night of the Johnstown Flood.” I haven’t seen the guys live since summer 2012, but I suspect they must have played the tune then, because I knew most of the lyrics. It’s a compellingly sad song, and one of the best that the band played at the show this year. Very emotional – and Craig’s vocals are all about emotion; you feel the pain that he feels while singing about the horrific Johnstown Pennsylvania Flood of 1889, and it’s sad and haunting and thought-provoking. Whether live or on the CD, this tune contains an amazing instrumental interlude – many minutes long. It’s a perfectly arranged with Jeff’s subtle brush-strokes on the drums adding a haunting quality.

It was a terrific show, and the Delta Generators made a great impression on many new listeners.

<- back to Features