Music journalist and Philly native, Mr. C – the host of Mr. C’s Soul Spectacular internet radio show, as well as a historian and record crate digger – has hipped us to an amazing live recording of a show at Philly’s Nixon Theatre featuring soul singer Billy Stewart and Philly’s The Delfonics. Stewart performed his classic “Summertime” and The Delfonics sang “You’ve Been Untrue,” a side they recorded early in their career on Cameo Records.
The Nixon Theatre, built in 1910, stood tall at 52nd and Market Streets until it was demolished in 1984. Continue reading →
The Lawsuits were our featured artists for this week’s Key Studio Session. Highlighting tracks from their upcoming debut LP, the rootsy band recorded four songs, alternating between the upbeat, rocking numbers we know and love them for and the more reserved and beautifully arranged slower tracks that appeared on their recent Numbers EP. Stream and download “Onion” below and check out the full session here.
The Hot Philly 15 is a completely subjective list of Philly-made and Philly Local music happenings we love this week. It’s somewhat informed by what we’re playing on the radio, what we’re blogging about and what you’re talking about.
2 – The Delfonics – Who would have thought 45 years after the release of “La La Means I Love You,” William Hart would still be kickin’ it? Listen to Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics here. Download the new song, “Enemies” here.
3 – Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel: Philly Bands heading to SXSW include: DRGN KNG, Blayer Pointdujour and The Rockers Galore, Creepoid, Lantern, Bleeding Rainbow, Norwegian Arms, A Life Once Lost, Dangerous Ponies, The Fleeting Ends, Lushlife, The Kalob Griffin Band, Katie Frank & The Pheromones, Nothing, Cold Fronts, Free Energy, Thee Idea Men. If we forgot you, sorry. We never got your press release.
4 – Chill Moody: We want him to be the mtvU Freshmen Video of the Week. Vote for him here.
In Philly, la la will always mean I love you. “La La” refers to the classic “La La (Means I Love You)”, the very first hit that the Philly soul group The Delfonics had in 1968. It’s been many years since William Hart, lead singer of The Delfonics recorded an album. However, a new record on Wax Poetics, “Presented” by Adrian Younge, has been released that sounds like it was recorded back in the late Sixties, except it’s very 21st Century. Frannie Kelly of NPR Music writes has this to say about: Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics.
If you listen to hip-hop, you’re listening to The Delfonics — a singing group from Philadelphia whose members are now in their 80s. When Lauryn Hill sings the hook in Nas’ “If I Ruled the World,” she’s lifting a couple lines from their 1972 song “Walk Right Up to the Sun.” Her group, The Fugees, reworked The Delfonics’ “Ready Or Not, Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love)” on The Score. Ghostface asked The Delfonics’ William Hart to sing backup on his debut album, in “After the Smoke Is Clear,” and years later he rhymed over the entirety of “La La (Means I Love You)” in a song called “Holla.” Biggie, Missy Elliott, Gang Starr and Nicki Minaj have sampled the group’s songs.
Tapping the veins of The Delfonics’ emotive ballads has made for intensely dramatic tracks. Hart sings most often in the thin air of his upper register and, when his voice has been paired with gruff rappers telling scary stories, the effect is unnerving and memorable. Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics is 13 new songs written by producer Adrian Younge and William Hart and recorded with Younge’s band. Their cross-generational link results in songs that capture the relationship between The Delfonics’ music and hip-hop — songs that get under your skin and stay there.
A unique fusion of old Philly soul and 21st century hip-hop, the new collaborative LP Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics pairs the singer of the Philadelphia International Records legends (who has sung hooks for Ghostface Killah and had his music reworked by The Fugees, among others) with producer Younge and his band. The album premiered today on NPR Music’s first listen series, and NPR’s Frannie Kelly praised the “cross-generational link” crafted by the record:
Younge and Hart are holding fast to the qualities of The Delfonics’ music from 40 years ago — Hart’s piercing falsetto, the surf-guitar licks, the heavy pauses. But Younge in particular has also taken note of the power found in those sounds when rap producers stripped the flourishes away and roughed them up. Gone are the big orchestral openings. These are tight little songs with a fat bottom end, a bass line that can’t be ignored and enough skank to make felt the strains of reggae that bubble up in hip-hop.
Listen to Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics here, and watch the band perform its signature tune “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time” below.
As far as the local music scene goes, we thought 2012 was an excellent year. Our hats go off to the dozens of bands across an impressive, diverse range of genres for notching things up last year. Roll call: Dr. Dog. War On Drugs. Meek Mill. Hop Along. Cheers Elephant. Arc In Round. Toy Soldiers. Hezekiah Jones. Lushlife. Work Drugs. Chill Moody. Sun Airway. The Stray Birds. Purling Hiss. Free Energy. The Fleeting Ends. Aaron Brown. Res. Low Cut Connie. Spacin’. Swearin’ (there’s a double bill we want to see). Shark Tape. In The Pocket. DRGN KNG. Cold Fronts. Moosh & Twist. Nothing. RJD2. Night Panther. Reef The Lost Cauze. Buried Beds. Vacationer. Ape School. Adrien Reju. The Spinto Band. Ground Up. Vintage Kicks. Pissed Jeans. The legendary Roots crew. Santigold. Birdie Busch. Zilla Rocca. Scot Sax. Man Man. Schoolly (don’t need the “D” anymore, he’s just “Schoolly”). Freeway. Strand of Oaks. Good Old War. King Britt. Heyward Howkins. Arctic Splash. White Birds Chiddy Bang. GrandeMarshall. Meg Baird. City Rain. Juston Stens and The Get Real Gang. The Money Making Jam Boys. Nicos Gun.
Who’d we forget? Probably dozens more. Our apologies if we left you out. We hope you get the point though; these days, Philly is miles deep and miles wide with talent and creativity. If 2012 was a “ten,” here’s 15 reasons why Philly’s music scene is about to go to 11 in 2013. Continue reading →
Here in Philly we love our Delfonics. When we got word that soul singer and musician Adrian Younge was working on a new album with William Hart, the lead singer and founder of The Delfonics, we couldn’t wait to hear the results of their efforts. We’re happy to say that the first taste of the album is over the top classic Delfonics.
For those of you not familiar with them, The Delfonics had a string of hit songs that began in 1967 with “La-La (Means I Love You),” and continued with songs like “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love).” To this day these songs remain some of R&B music’s longest lasting classics. The Delfonics formed at Overbrook High School in the Sixties. William, his brother Wilbert, and Randy Cain worked with legendary producer, songwriter, arranger and musician Thom Bell to create what was a gorgeous mix of symphonic soul; lush arrangements with french horns, strings, stunning rhythm work and William’s soaring vocals. Often sampled, revered by Quentin Tarantino (see Jackie Brown) and featuring the musical talents of the core group of musicians known to the world as the house band behind dozens of The Sound Of Philadelphia (and the engineering prowess of Joe Tarsia), The Delfonics oozed soul, and had the hits to prove it.
Enter Adrian Younge, a leader of the new classic soul generation, who has released the first single from a forthcoming collaboration with William Hart called Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics being released February 13th on Wax Poetics. Close your eyes and listen to the new “Stop And Look (And You Have Found Love)” and you’ll be instantly transported back to 1968. Below, watch the video for “Stop And Look,” directed by David Wong and featuring Saudia Mills and Om’mas Keith on backing vocals. Hart sounds as good now as he did 40 plus years ago. It’s stunning.
Market East are back at it again with some “new” music; their first since they released their beautiful EP last January and a cover of The Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” in February. This time out the trio drop a sparkling cover of The Delfonics’ “La La Means I Love You.” It’s probably one of the world’s most challenging songs to cover, given the sheer brilliance of the original, written by Thom Bell and William Hart, the lead singer of The Delfonics. The song put the Philly band on the charts back in 1968 when it was released and became a Top Five Billboard pop song. So how do Market East fair? Pretty fantastically. Instead of dialing in a rote duplication of it, they instead strip the song down to it’s essence: lush harmonies that stick to the melody, reverbed guitar and some bongos for a little swing. Really though, it’s about the shimmering melody, the near perfect pacing of their version of the song, the band’s gorgeous vocals (listen to that bridge!) and their courage for taking on one of the world’s greatest songs ever, and more than succeeding in giving the song it’s “cover” due. Below, download the song and watch the video they made for it. in case you’ve forgotten or don’t remember the original, we’ve included that below. Market East play Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, July 20th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show.