Delta Time

Until I met Maurice “Big Mo” Huffman, our local blues powerhouse, I wasn’t inclined to associate Germans with dyed-in-the-cotton blues purveyors. Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about the chord the blues strikes in lots of northern European hearts. That chord never rings truer than when it’s played or sung by Hans Theessink, a Dutchman now living in Vienna. I reviewed one of his albums last year, and I liked it a lot. This one with Terry Evans is even better. On the second track—“Blues Stay Away From Me”—Ry Cooder lends his formidable guitar to Theessink’s rich baritone, and the result is as soulful a rendition of that seminal song as you’re ever going to hear. The same can be said of what Theessink & Evans do with “It Hurts Me Too,” one of the most enduring blues standards. On “Down in Mississippi,” the old J.B. Lenoir classic, Evans sings with authority traceable to his birthplace in Vicksburg. The vocal harmonies are likely to transport you down to the Mississippi delta on a warm night, when the ribs are about ready and the whippoorwills announce that evening’s coming on. I can’t recall the last blues album I heard as good as this one, but it could have been that last one Theessink did.