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Volume 91, Issue 17
Thursday, September 25, 1997
The Delta 72 builds R&B monster
By Tim Merrill
In recent years it seems that everyone and their cousin has been going on about the death of rock 'n' roll. Say it ain't so, Joe. As a matter of fact, rock music never really died at all, it just wound up homogenized like anything else, dressed up in a lame-ass suit.
The question remains whether or not people are willing to follow the pathetic decline of rock 'n' roll or get up and do something about it. Once in a while a band comes around like The Delta 72, who decide to make it a mission to knock the starch out of the state of modern rock music, mess its hair up a little bit and pull the proverbial stick out of its behind.
The Delta 72 wants to take listeners back to a time when R&B and early rock musicians exorcised their souls through raw, hi-octane, boot-shaking performances. This isn't a band caught up in nostalgia, but a group of musicians who want to 'get it on' in the classic R&B sense of the word. Picking up the torch passed on from past musicians such as Bo Diddley, the MC5, and Barrence Whitfield and The Savages, The Delta 72 wants to return soul music to the state in which it once was an honest, spine-driven, rhythmic experience. Where many musicians have given up hope on the current state of music, The Delta 72 have decided to hook up the jumper cables one more time and blast some old soul into a new machine.
Despite the band's traditional R&B leanings, The Delta 72 surprisingly evolved from out of the Washington D.C. punk scene. There's still a definite connection to punk in the band with the screaming guitars provided by Delta nucleus Greg Foreman, but it's a throwback to the sonic gut-punch once provided in the early days of the Rolling Stones and The Troggs. With the walloping drums of Jason Kourkonis, the muddied bass of Bruce Reckhan and the shrill Farfisa Organ of Sarah Stolfa, The Delta 72 explodes with freight-train velocity, knocking you out like a bag of hammers.
After releasing a single on the indie label Dischord/KillRockStars and recording a debut album The Membership Of R&B for Touch and Go Records in 1996, The Delta 72 have released its anticipated second full length release, The Soul Of A New Machine. While some who listen to the CD may try to easily dismiss The Delta 72 as another John Spencer Blues revision, others will simply realize that John Spencer doesn't hold the copyright in being able to make you shake your ass.
With The Soul Of A New Machine, The Delta 72 have brewed up a spicy batch of its own homemade R&B grooves and easily hold its own laying it down straight with no chaser. By incorporating the warm crackle and pop sounds of vinyl and soulful radio frequencies, The Delta 72 manages to stir up a few old ghosts while at the same time sounding absolutely fresh and thriving. The best compliment that could be made about The Soul Of A New Machine is that it is one of the best party records of 1997, guaranteed to get you off your boot. If you really want to find out if true music is finally dead, then check out The Delta 72 on Sept. 25 at Call the Office with Phonocomb. You'll get religion and walk away energized and sanctified.
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