Billy Pierce and Friends – Take Me Back to the Delta | Album Review

billypiercecdBilly Pierce and Friends – Take Me Back to the Delta


CD: 11 songs; 49:29 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Slide Guitar Blues, Blues Rock, Covers

There is no single type of “blues guitar”. Fans may listen to electric, acoustic, or other varieties – including slide. Fabulous practitioners of this last kind include Bonnie Raitt on the rock-and-roll side and Sonny Landreth on the blues side. Landreth has been praised by Eric Clapton as being his (Clapton’s) favorite slide guitarist. This is quite an honor considering that an iconic piece of graffiti during the 1960’s stated “Clapton is God”. If so, then Sonny was one of his most admired apostles. Those who share the stage with him receive a taste of his magic, as in the case of Wilmington, Delaware’s Billy Pierce. According to his website, “Pierce has received a number of accolades; a recent one includes the Saint Georges Session acoustic recording of his song ‘Take Me Back to the Delta’, which won the Big City Rhythm and Blues Magazine’s first round CD sampler contest in 2013.” His debut album of the same name features above-average slide guitar from both Billy and Sonny. Paired with serviceable singing, it may or may not be reference quality, but at least it spares no effort to impress blues fans. As an added plus, seven of the eleven songs on “Delta” are originals (the others include Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and Segar and Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway”). Sonny Landreth wrote track ten, “Zydecoldsmobile”. 

The Billy Pierce Band consists of himself on slide guitar and vocals, Chris Miller on bass, and Billy Meyers on drums. His numerous “Friends” include Sonny Landreth on slide guitar during the title track, bassist Charlie Wooton, Waylon Thibodeaux on fiddle for three songs, saxophone player Jimmy Carpenter, the Bonerama Horns (Craig Klein, Mark Mullins, and Greg Hicks), Johnny Neel on piano, Johnny Digiovanni on drums and kenjira-framed drum, Jimmy Crawford on dejembe, Steve Ruth and Henry Ramato on accordion, and Garry Cogdell on background vocals. Horn charts were written by Craig Klein, and they provide pep to the Zydeco numbers.  

Anyone can play the blues, and that’s what’s so fantastic about this magazine’s favorite musical genre. Unlike classical musicians in a symphony, who require years of training from their earliest childhood in order to play at top levels, the blues is open to everyone who’s ever had that “low-down old aching chill (Son House)”. All it takes is mojo and a guitar, in most cases, to start living the dream of being a blues guru. With that said, it also takes excellent persuasion and recruitment skills as well as talent. Lining up co-performers of Sonny Landreth’s caliber on stage while another one takes the lead is no easy feat, and so hats off to Billy Pierce and his Friends. 

Got an itch for some zesty Cajun blues? “Take Me Back to the Delta” will scratch it, especially “Song for Sonny”, “Zydecoldsmobile” and “Big Joe”. Billy Pierce definitely ‘Got Slide’!

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