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Delta 72 | 000 | review | rock | Lollipop
The Delta 72
000 (Touch & Go)
by Jon Sarre
Soul circa right now is the domain of whitey (like jazz, I guess), 'specially with Curtis Mayfield pushin' up daisies and Isaac Haays doin' voice-overs for VH-1 specials and such. Not just any white folk, either, but curiously enough Indie Rockers, people who aren't known for their dancin' ability, but they must be learnin, cuz from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's cock-rooster bluster to Zen Guerrilla's dirty ole chicken scratch tent revivals, honkies are appropriatin' things Staxy while the Brothers seem content to see "R&B" reduced to approximations of Barry White's homo cousin and... guitars? Babyface never heard of 'em!
Tho' they hail from Atlanta, The Forty Fives have a bit o' '60s Anglo affectation, like they listened to lotsa Animals singles (45s? See the connection?). They're doin' what limeys back in those days were doin' when they thought they were doin' Motown (like when The Who usedta bill 'emselves as "Maximum R&B"), which, like I slurred above, ain't the same thing no more. Get It Together, tho' not as cohesive as a live set from this band, ranges from up-tempo tinny ditties like "Anytime At All" to the Syd Barrett Floyd missive of the title track to Jimmy Reed's "Ain't That Lovin' You" to the jumpin' gospel tent punk opener, "Get Out."
Philly's The Delta 72, like The Forty Fives, have a name with a number in it, but, unlike The Forty Fives, are relatively well-known by now. Happily, this indicates that people actually may have taste out there, cuz The Delta 72 may be the most vital blackface minstrelsy since Al Jolsen took off the grease paint for the final time (or mebbe he was buried with it on, I'd like to think so). Seriously tho', bastardized as it is, they may even be carryin' on some American "cultural heritage" or some such nonsense. For urbanites, the 72's have got more of a country sound, more Memphis soul tinged with Gospel vox than the Philly variety: slide guitar (Gregg Forman's) 'stead of sax and that's just ducky. Mark Boyce's greasy keyboard chops ridin' over the rhythm section's (Jason Kourkounis and Bruce Reckahn) groove flavors the whole thing, makin' the band danceable as all heck. Escapist, sure, but good escapism is always a not-so-guilty pleasure, so play that funky music, white devils.
(130 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10011; PO Box 25520 Chicago, IL 60625)