Review: ‘Delta Man’ spotlights Allison-Spehar partnership

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Music Review-Allison-Spehar (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Music Review-Allison-Spehar (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“Delta Man,” Bobby Allison and Gerry Spehar (Independent)

The new album by longtime songwriting collaborators Bobby Allison and Gerry Spehar includes an exuberant self-assessment on “Bubba Billy Boom Boom & Me,” a tune as entertaining as its title.

“We was dynamite, y’all!” Allison sings.

They still are. “Delta Man” collects 15 songs spotlighting an under-the-radar partnership now in its fifth decade.

Allison grew up in New Mexico and has been working the troubadour circuit since he was a teenager. Spehar, a Colorado native, stopped performing in the 1980s but has continued to write with Allison. While some of these recordings date back as far as 1998, all were completed last year.

Twang provides a unifying element, but Spehar and Allison cover a range of styles. They take turns on lead vocals, and Allison is an especially versatile singer who’s at his best crooning the lovely “Baby’s Got the Blues.”

The duo’s roots show on “Rockin’ On a Country Dance Floor,” which references Elvis the Beatles and Roy Orbison while jazzy horns back Spehar on “Just Relax.” The title cut is a reminder Molly Hatchet once covered an Allison song, and the amusing “25 Miles to Brady” salutes a certain quarterback.

Allison and Spehar can’t match Tom Brady when it comes to trophies, but they share his staying power.

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