What they're saying:


Oakland & East Bay- 2008
Readers' Choice!

Oakland Magazine


"DELTA WIRES rocked the stage
at the 36th Annual (2008) San Francisco Blues Festival, proving what great talents these stalwarts of Bay Area blues truly are. They got the crowd shaking and moving and set the pace for a simmering day of blues."

Tom Mazzolini, Producer,
San Francisco Blues Festival

"a tough, rocking, socking band, knocking out crowds...the WIRES are burning up!"

Joel Selvin,
San Francisco Chronicle

Review of: DELTA WIRES, Anthology, Mud Slide Records
From 1965 to 1970, the USA had one real "Integrated" blues band, The Butterfield Blues Band.  Among their feats (besides reliance in their first line-up on cousin Billy Boy Arnold and drummer Howlin 'Wolf), these lads introduced Dylan to electricity during the famous festival at Newport.  Led by the first white harmonica able to compete with Little Walter, they introduced the incorporation of a brass section, on a par with the electric guitar and keyboards. Fatally lost in the influence of drugs, Paul Butterfield eventually lost everything from his wife to his home and even his group, before dying 25 years later.  A mess in short, which leaves one nostalgic, and with a bitter taste.

Via the Magic of the Web: Oakland, California (in the famous bay of San Francisco), a septet had preserved the formula unbeknownst to the rest of the world. An E-mail launched as a bottle in the sea can now correct this omission to the European public, for this Anthology (recalling nearly four decades of the course of DELTA WIRES) takes things from where Butterfield's "In My Own Dream" and "The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw" albums had left them: a fiery breath of blues, carried by brilliant brass and the virtuosity of a top-notch harp playing leader, the kind of revelation that the most jaded aficionados can only realize once every twenty years ... Imagine a cross between Count Basie Orchestra and J. Geils Band origins: it is simply stunning!
Patrick Dallongeville, Presto! Magazine, France, June 2013

San Francisco Bay Area blues legends the Delta Wires take a victory lap after their induction into the Blues Hall of Fame with the release of their historical survey Anthology... the act grew out of a college undergraduate project where [band leader] Pinata was tasked to research and perform an anthology of the great blues music form, tracing it from its Delta roots to its Chicago wired form (thus, the name “Delta Wires”). ...This collection of live and studio tracks culled from six prior albums and obscure concert recordings, likewise traces the blues over the decades, as delivered by Pinata and his band. ...Like the Tower of Power, Delta Wires has had its own horn section, made up of guys who played for another popular Frisco-based act, the boogie rock outfit Cold Blood, and it adds punch and a certain panache you can’t get from small combos. But listening to some of these tracks, especially the earlier ones, there’s enough dirt under the fingernails to make this group bona fide practitioners of the blues. Most of that grit comes courtesy of Pinata himself, whose rousing roots-minded blues harp is the constant in this varied set of recordings that features a changing but consistently good cast of backing personnel. Pinata’s harmonica is smokin’ on cuts such as “Take Off Your Pajamas,” “Tippin’ Into The Blues,” “Don’t Want No Woman” and “Take Your Hand Outta My Pocket,” where he brings down he house. Pinata also handles lead singing for nearly all the vocal songs and while he puts a lot of heart into it, he…did I mention that Pinata is a fantastic harmonica player? ...this retrospective makes a strong case for why the Delta Wires earned a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame.
S. Victor Aaron
- http://somethingelsereviews.com/2013/01/18/delta-wires-anthology-2013/

"From jump rhythms to nasty, lowdown Windy City laments, DELTA WIRES electrifies the audience at North Beach's legendary blues club, The Saloon. This tight Bay Area troop, fronted by vocalist/harmonica genius/composer Ernie Pinata, melds Mississippi Delta tunes and Chicago-style arrangements with rock, soul, and swing sensitivity to produce a rollicking, robust live recording...It's terrific! This rockin' blues band is spectacular -- tight, topical, and torrid".

Lee Cooper, Ph.
D. - Rock & Blues News (link to entire review)

"Song after song the Delta Wires were dynamic, tight and energetic! What more could you want from your headliner. They had the crowd in the Delta Wires spell from the first note until the end of the show. Everyone that was in attendance is still talking about the band. Thanks to Ernie and crew for putting on a great show. They made a hot summer evening in the valley even hotter!"
Jim Castleman,
Producer, Hanford Blues and Roots Festival (Sept 2012)

REVIEW of "ANTHOLOGY" CD:  "A band born out of a sociological research project by bandleader/harp player Ernie Pinata, the Delta Wires have been a constant in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1970. Pinata’s exploration of the various root systems that breathe life into the blues for California's College of the Arts kindled a diverse appreciation for all things hip shaking, as their stylistic muse runs from horn-driven jump blues to South Side Chicago smoke. The Delta Wires have recorded five albums since their inception, much of that material well-sifted here, along with a jackpot of live radio broadcast archive recordings, fostering a new appreciation for just how iron-fisted this band is on stage. These guys have always had to be on their toes, as they’ve sat in with everyone from Buddy Guy to Lowell Fulson over the years, and their disciplined readiness is clear. From the opening instrumental flurry of Three for Dizzy, which combines the Hammond B-3 rhythm bed and percussive dusting sound best described as Booker T meets Johnnie Johnson swagger, the Wires continue to lay down classy, jazz-inflected, suit ‘n tie blues. Whether it be the Freddie King-inspired sweat that guitarist Bobby Delgado lays down on Take Off Your Pajamas (one of several officially released live cuts, this one from the band’s Take Off Your Pajamas, Live in San Francisco album) or the somber, Son Sealsesque Why Did You Leave?, the band draws on its ensemble musicianship to throw in the unexpected lick for maximum color. The Wires are at their best when they’re in party mode. Their raucous, almost rockabilly-rave take on Willie Dixon’s Monkey Man is a highlight, the dual saxophone team of Jim Orsetti and Danny Sandoval a show-stopping centerpiece of the more recent live recordings, this one from the Northern California Blues Festival in 2008.

The Delta Wires would have fit in just as well during the swing revival of the 1990’s as they would on an extended Albert King jam session."
-Mark Uricheck,
Living Blues Magazine

"A 10-degree drop in the temperature...and a light rain...didn’t stop DELTA WIRES from playing like men possessed. The band features [part of] the original horn section from Cold Blood, augmented by the SUPERNATURAL harp playing of Ernie Pinata!  I’d heard of the DELTA WIRES but had not investigated how good they are! They played Chicago Blues! They played New Orleans Blues! They definitely played the Oakland Funk which they claim as their turf."

"CyberSoulMan" Tee Watts - Lake County News & KPFX 88/1 fm- 33rd annual Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival (2009)

"Oh, boy, it doesn’t get much better than this. Never heard of the Delta Wires? Well, they’re one of America’s finest Blues institutions, and they’ve worked out of Oakland for over 30 years. This is an industrial-strength, 7 piece blues band with a take-no-prisoners brass section and they play the blues in that special way a would-be musician could only dream of.  This is a bunch of big, grown up lads, fronted by the powerful vocals and agile harp playing of Fine Arts graduate Ernie Pinata. Richard Healy’s guitar playing will set your speakers on fire … the live excitement cuts in like a hot knife through butter. You want great, live, driving American music? This is it, no mistake!"

-BLUES MATTERS Magazine, Bridgend, United Kingdom

"breath-taking solos with guts and heat...incredible intensity! ...excellent musicians...a magnificent delivery! -Philippe Le Guennec, Blues & Co. Magazine, France 

"You guys are incredible!  What a tight band!    What energy!    I want to know what brand of vitamins you take.   Thanks so much for a wonderful day, the joy of your company, and the outstanding music.   And thanks so much for helping the kids, the next generation, at Berkeley High.   You were absolutely smokin'!"
-Kathleen Lawton
, Crazy 'Bout the Blues
, KCSM-FM, 91.1 FM, San Mateo CA, MC for Jazz on 4th Street Festival, Berkeley CA (May 2011)

"The DELTA WIRES were off the hook!  I've seen almost every blues show at Crossroads and ... these guys blew me away... Tight, Hot, Dynamic, Emotional, Soulful, Rippin' through song after song. They had the audience in the palm of their hands right up to the LAST song of the night. Everyone left with a huge smile on their face... delivered with the spirit I love most about the blues...the nicest group of individuals you would ever want to meet".

Don Heflin, President - Central Valley Blues Society

“Incredible! Fantastic…and thank you!  We’re sweating in the studio, the music is so HOT…a great one (Live @ 105 Degrees) to add to your collection of excellent DELTA WIRES!”

Kathleen Lawton “Crazy ‘Bout the Blues!” - KCSM 91.1 FM, San Mateo CA

"Bloody hell mate, I think I've died and gone to heaven. I've been doing Radio for 17 years, and I ain't heard of you guys, but I have now...  Ernie, you are a top tin sandwich blower, and a great set of vocal pipes, the Band from end to end is shit HOT (and ya' can't get better than that)! 
-Terry Iredale, HOTFM 106.7FM in "OZ"
(that's Australia!)

"DEFINITELY COOKING on all 7 cylinders...a SMOKIN' set of live music.  You set the pace for the show when you opened with Willie Dixon's Monkey Man, that's coming out STRONG for 105 degrees!  All and all it's a GREAT LIVE RECORDING that captures the band at it's BEST."

Al Lundy "HighwayBlues.org" - KZUM 89.3 FM, Lincoln, NE

"Right out of the box the band is a powerhouse clicking on every cylinder.  The disc's sound is an updated Louis Jordon west coast jump blues sound, but I mean that in the most complimentary way..... With each tune I am more and more impressed.  Go buy this disc--you're going to love it!   Ernie Pinata is a strong singer and harp player, and the band is tight and full. You can tell these guys have spent lots of time together on stage.

Bruce Edwards, MO Blues, MOBlues.org

""Hard-driving, intense, with a band that's tight and fierce, this new CD ("Tears Like Rain") from the Delta Wires will leave you breathless!"
-Kathleen Lawton, KCSM-FM, Crazy 'Bout the Blues

"Great recording and killer arrangements make DELTA WIRES' Take Off Your Pajamas: Live in San Francisco soar! Everything cooks, from the rhythm section through the piano, guitar and horns, to Ernie Pinata's harp sizzling on top."


"They blow hard from the get-go, a tight horn section blending comfortably with the spirited, intense harmonica from lead man Ernie Pinata…as fierce a Sonny Boy Williamson-influenced harp as you will find"

Bill Kisluik, BLUES ACCESS Magazine.

"This is a band whose Curriculum Vitae should read: just trim, taut and terrific. No missteps on this killer set from "Delta Wires". With a front man of the calibre of Ernie Pinata plus some platinum sidemen I guess you'd have to expect nothing but the best. And they produce it on track after track. "Them That's Got" has ended up on high rotation on my "Briefcase Full Of Blues" show. - Robin Elks, "Robin On The Radio" 2TENFM 89.7 & 98.7 Tenterfield New South Wales and Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia

"This Bay Area seven-piece infuses traditional Delta Blues with rock guitar energy and a swinging brass section. At a blues festival, this is the band that blows away the headliner with their charm and energy" Europe Edition UK RealMusic

"A Powerful, HOT blues band with a rolling sense of rhythm & tons of swing. The DELTA WIRES are seven bright, good musicians, who tastefully and cleverly combine jump, swing, rhythm & blues, rock and soul, with an elegant artistic sensibility which makes an impressive, rockin’ high quality blues band!   DELTA WIRES have really got a bright punching sound.  Singer, harmonica player and song writer Ernie Pinata leads the band with an audacious, terrific performance.  This cd (them that's got) will sound GREAT in your record player again and again. I give you my word. GREAT!Vicente Zumel, Radio PICA / La Hora del Blues, Spain

"Last and certainly not least was the closing act, The Delta Wires. This band has got to be one of the best polished groups I have seen in a long time. The three-piece horn section is certainly a nice touch but there wasn't anyone that could stand up to the vocals and harp playing of Ernie Pinata. It takes a lot for me to get impressed like this, but these guys really did it. If you ever get a chance to see the Delta Wires, I highly recommend that you check them out. You wont be sorry." - Dennis Sies, Sacramento Blues Society Newsletter, on Biloxi Blues Festival II (Aug 11, 2007)

Monterey County Weekly Article: "History of the Blues - The Delta Wires Fuse Tradtion into a Brand New Sound"  (In-depth Interview with Ernie Pinata)

Sac Bee LogoThe Delta Wires is one of those solid, hardworking bands that labor, if not in obscurity, then in a less-brilliant spotlight than they might deserve. Founded in 1970 by Bay Area art school student Ernie Pinata, the seven-member blues band rocks long and hard.  (link to entire article)

This San Francisco Bay Area band's live CD, "Take Off Your Pajamas" is sizzlin' from beginning to end!...The horn section of Mike Quinlan, Scott Johnston, and Larry Jonutz is tight, yet explosive, shining throughout the CD. Johnston's superlative sax playing is enhanced by his sweet, sultry tone. The instrumental solos by all the musicians are sizzling! Bobby Delgado's strong guitar playing leads the band into the title track, "Take Off Your Pajamas." The lyrics mirror the fun, steamy sound with, "Take off your pajamas, baby...Girl I wanna see what this fuss is all about...". The guys here know how to share the spotlight and play off of each other in order to create a fantastic sound that really gels!

"Really hot blues bar bands are a rarity. I think its the grind that kills 'em. There are a few who survive in that environment, and the Delta Wires are one band that not only survives but actually thrives.... This CD, recorded live at The Saloon in San Francisco, is a great introduction to a mighty fine aggregation of pros... This is "get out and sweat" music, played before an appreciative crowd. Now, ain't that where it's at.

Lee Cotten - Rock & Blues News (link to entire review)

"These musicians turn on the power and deliver a shock of blues and R&B...Yes, these DELTA WIRES show they are a polished group. A band that is ready for the big time. The WIRES are pros and it's a shame they aren't on a major label. Check this 14 track CD ("Live in S.F."). A must for blues lovers!"

Armando Canales, The Critical Review

"POWERHOUSE performance marked by riveting horn riffs... solidly locking bass and drum grooves..."

Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express

"The most PROFESSIONAL band I have ever worked with!"

Laura Guthrie, Oakland Football Marketing Association
for the , Oakland Coliseum

"CD was undoubtedly one of the best submissions that we have ever received…Great instrumentation...brings to mind Blood Sweat and Tears, and old Chicago."

Dave Johnson, Producer "Blues Deluxe"

"Ernie Pinata has a muscular voice that sails above even the hardest, tightest arrangements....His slicing harp solos mesh easily with the high and mighty horn section. DELTA WIRES is wired!"

Jeff Tamarkin, Goldmine Magazine

"Serving up a meaty mix of blues and soul inspired by Bobby Bland's orchestra, as well as by horn-fueled Bay Area outfits like Tower of Power and Cold Blood... With Pinata's searing harp and Bobby Delgado's rock-singed guitar creating climax after climax over the rhythm and horn sections' expertly controlled dynamics, the DELTA WIRES brought fresh excitement to time-honored tunes that would have sounded stale in less inspired hands."

Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express
(link to entire review of 9/18/98 Mr. E's performance)

"beautifully floating yet searing guitar solos...big, fat, brassy swinging rockin’ sound."

Richard Bammer, Vacaville Reporter

"...the festival played to sellout crowds and record attendance...your talent and energy were key reasons the Monterey Bay Blues Festival was successful !"

Mary Ellen Harris, Monterey Bay Blues Festival

"As Always, DELTA WIRES was superb...and certainly a favorite with the crowd!"

Dorothy Scribner, Hayward Blues and Brew Festival

"An enthusiastic THANK YOU to the DELTA WIRES! The band was excellent and everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously!"

Kathy Green, Saint Mary’s College BeerFest

"I’m impressed...The DELTA WIRES were great! The music was perfect...there’s a lot of talent...a pleasure!"

Deborah Martin, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival (pre-festival "day on the green")

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