Hans and Terry harmonize perfectly, not least the album “Visions” proves this impressively, and “Delta Time” is also a clear proof that only two exceptional artists can create an immensely dense atmosphere with their voices, their guitars, which captivates the listener from the first to the last note and even then never lets go.
Gently the tonearm is lowered and the needle glides in the groove, and already after the first chords it is clear that you are dealing with a very extraordinary album, which nevertheless immediately looks very familiar.
Because the protagonists are well-known, and at the latest after their last album together, “Visions”, it’s clear that both of them are masters of their profession, and that the mixture results in something quite extraordinary, and in the case of “Delta Time” something truly brilliant. Hans Theessink and Terry Evans shine here with a harmony as if one of them would never play without the other.
Neither about Hans Theessink nor about Terry Evans there are many words to be said. Hans Theessink, Europe’s Blues and Roots master par excellence, who even in the USA has been called “One helluva guitar player” by none other than Bo Diddley, and Terry Evans, who in his more than fifty years of career can not only point to several solo albums, but has worked with almost all the greats of the Blues, be it John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Pops Staples or Ry Cooder.
The story behind “Delta Time” began in February 2012, when Hans and Milica Theessink escaped the cold winter in Vienna and, as Hans writes in the lyrics accompanying the new album, set off for Los Angeles with a 6- and 12-string guitar and a list of songs. For a week, Terry Evans’ kitchen table in Inglewood was the setting for selecting songs, working out arrangements and finding the right rhythm and key for the perfect harmony of both voices.
As with the album “Visions”, the recording studio was to be Grandma’s Warehouse in Echo Park, because it was known that Andrew Bush was not only the perfect sound engineer, but also the finest equipment available, although this looks completely different from what one would expect for such top productions. Because more than a few guitars, the matching amplifiers, mainly finest vintage equipment, a mandolin, a banjo and a harmonica as well as a selection of exactly placed microphones were not necessary to record the eleven or 13 songs of the album in the studio.
In almost all songs you can clearly hear what Hans Theessink and Terry Evans state in their liner notes: the basic tracks were always recorded together and were sometimes perfect after the first take, others didn’t need more than two or three runs to satisfy Hans and Terry, who also took over the production themselves on “Delta Time”.
Two voices, two guitars, refined with a gospel-blues trio and, to top it all off, none other than Ry Cooder as guest on three tracks, this is in a few words the secret of success of “Delta Time”, the latest album by Hans Theessink and Terry Evans.
From the very first track, “Delta Time”, which gives the album its name, the two protagonists are accompanied by a percussion that, like a heartbeat, sets the beat of the action and accompanies the two artists’ playing for long stretches of the album. This is nothing other than the tapping of the beat with Hans’ foot, which was simply recorded. And since this sounded best when Hans did it barefoot on the wooden floor in the studio, he walked around most of the time without shoes…
As support for the vocals, Terry Willie Greene jr. was able to get Arnold McCuller to join him in the trio for the background vocals. Unbelievable, what energy, what a dense sound image three voices can develop. As if all this wasn’t enough, Ry Cooder joined the recording sessions in Echo Park and contributed his distinctive guitar parts to three songs. The description of what Ry Cooder brought to the studio, which can be found in the album’s liner notes, could make many a guitar lover with a penchant for extraordinary, unusual vintage gear go into raptures.
The concentration on the essentials, and thus the renunciation of exuberant arrangements, is one point that makes this album so worth listening to. Here two musicians came together who, as already mentioned in the introduction, harmonize very well. This is due to their very different voices and their very special way of playing the guitar, which are carried by the same passion, obviously very similar musical ideas, but then become a perfect whole. Andrew Bush captured this excellently, whereas especially the immensely dense atmosphere, the intimate character is probably not least because of the tracks that are captured in a few takes almost under live conditions. Gavin Lurssen put the finishing touches to this with his perfect mastering, whereby high gloss is by no means required here, but rather the immediate impression of a live recording was excellently realized. If you close your eyes, Hans and Terry are sitting directly in the room, within reach.
Finally, we don’t want to go into individual songs of the album at all, because it is nothing less than a delight from the first to the last note. Only one song should not be left unmentioned separate, because “The birds and the bees” stands out a little bit from the “match made in blues heaven! And yet it also fits perfectly into the overall picture due to the reinterpretation of the two musicians that can be heard here. But why is he on this album? Very simple, Terry Evans was a member of the formation The Turnarounds and earned his first money as a musician with this hit…
The album is of course also available on audio CD and as download, even a Hi-res download is available. And even die-hard vinyl friends will get their preferred format, also the vinyl version of the album contains eleven tracks, the audio CD 13 tracks.
Getting to the point
So what more can you say about “Delta Times” than that this album is simply a virtuoso work. Hans Theessink and Terry Evans deliver a true masterpiece, a teaching example of how music can be recorded directly, almost palpably, on sound carriers and what an emotional effect can be achieved with comparatively few means – two extraordinary voices, masterful guitar playing. Perfectly mixed, perfectly mastered, and of course just as perfectly recorded on CD, as a download or vinyl! Yes, the album is audiophile in the truest sense of the word, but who cares about it in view of the simply intoxicating music? Already brilliant on their own, together they are pure magic, as “Delta Time” proves one more time.
|Artist:||Hans Theessink, Terry Evans, Ry Cooder|
|Genre:||Blues, Gospel, Roots|
|Format:||CD, Download, Vinyl|