The Trick to Growing Old Gracefully

Delbert McClinton and Gurf Morlix have been around the block—and are still going strong with new bluesy albums.


Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men
Prick of the Litter
Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers

Gurf Morlix
The Soul & the Heal
Rootball

Courtesy of All Eyes Media

Delbert McClinton’s been around. He played harmonica on Bruce Channel’s 1962 smash “Hey! Baby” and tutored a young John Lennon in the finer points of the instrument during a subsequent tour of England with Channel; you can hear his influence on the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do.” The Texas-born McClinton went on to a celebrated career of his own as a honky-tonk shouter, and against all odds is still going strong today. While his voice has grown deeper and rougher over time, Prick of the Litter stands with McClinton’s best work, mixing rowdy blues, down-home country, and tender ballads with his typical swaggering good humor. From the poignant falsetto of “Middle of Nowhere,” to the sly, slinky “Bad Haircut,” this vibrant album is an exuberant case study in growing old gracefully.
        

If McClinton embodies the triumph of the spirit in the face of mortality, Gurf Morlix shows how to flirt with outright despair and survive, barely, on The Soul & the Heal. Best known for his tenure in the ’80s and ’90s as Lucinda Williams’ right-hand man, the guitarist has since made a series of darkly funny solo albums that showcase his rueful singing and weary, downbeat tunes from the last-chance saloon. Morlix’s wonderfully expressive, strangled growl of a voice is perfectly suited to these haunting tales of shrinking expectations and desperate options. Uneasy tunes like “I’m Bruised, I’m Bleeding,” where he moans, “I’m tryin’ to get a grip/But I’m grabbin’ onto nothin’ I can hold,” and “Bad Things,” which finds him confessing, “The dread is overpowerin’/For a good man who may have done some bad things,” have the primal cathartic power of a great blues song. Morlix is also a terrific, tasteful guitarist whose fluid grace suggests a less-flashy Richard Thompson. The Soul & the Heal is compelling from first note to last, though not for the faint of heart.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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