Delfonics: Slow Jam Masters Of The Philly Groove, Fonic Zone, Will Hart, William Hart, Philadelphia, Wilbert Hart, Randy Cain, Major Harris
If you aren’t an open-minded music listener, then you should stop reading right now because this isn’t an album that is easily explained or listened to. In fact it requires multiple listens before you begin to understand the genius at work here.
The traditional 1970’s slow jam is something that is sacred to people from my generation, however the whole concept could probably use some updating. A few years ago when I visited the studio of one of the "East Coast Slow Jam Masters", he played a demo for me of a rap song where his group was singing harmony in the background. At first this sounded strange to me, but after the second listen, it made perfect sense as a way to update the traditional 1970’s slow jam sound.
Most "old farts" my age, be they male or female have a certain expectation when they see the name "Delfonics". We tend to think of syrupy love songs, with French horns in the background, sung in perfect harmony by the most masculine of high pitched male singers, while grinding with a young lady in a hot sweaty basement in 1971 rancid with the combined odors of cigarette smoke, fried chicken, Sulfur 8 and cheap wine that was spilled on the floor stuck to the bottom of your playboys.
Yup, that’s what comes to my mind when I think of the name "Delfonics".
However that is NOT what this album is about.
This album is all about the "FONIC ZONE".
And just like being in the "TWILIGHT ZONE", it requires the listener to totally suspend your belief in all previously known data that is already burned into your head about the name "DELFONICS". Yet at the same time you must remember that two of the three original members of the Delfonics (Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain) are leading the way on this album.
It’s a conceptual album where the Delfonics are transported to the year 2005 and so therefore half of this album is "URBAN" and the other half is "SLOW JAMS" all done with an overlay of "ELECTRONICA". . There are several outstanding cuts on here such as "Hey Love [2005 Mix]", "Here for You", "Crazy", "Gemini (The Two of Them)".
Now let’s use these four cuts to illustrate my point….
* "Hey Love [2005 Mix]" is a cover version of the Delfonics early 1970’s hit record and it sounds pretty much like what you would expect to an update to a classic slow jam.
* "Here for You" written by Will Hart however is a radical departure, having more in common with a Biggie Smalls song than with a Delfonics song, until you hear the Delfonics singing in perfect 3 part harmony in the background. It works
* "Crazy" (despite the title) is really a cover version of the Beach Boys classic song "Good Vibrations", with different lyrics, Will Hart singing lead and original Delfonics (Will Hart and Randy Cain) singing "I love the colorful clothes she wears And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair" over and over again in a looped sample (of the Delfonics sounding like the Beach Boys), with a rapper on top (sheer genius IMHO).
* Next up is a song called "Gemini (The Two of Them)", which is really a remake of the early 1960’s hit song called "Two Lovers" – Mary Wells, that is done in a very similar way as "Crazy" covers "Good Vibrations" (sans the rapper).
ENTER THE FONIC ZONE
This is easily the most creative and innovative album I have heard in 2005 thus far. It’s also quite a risky and bold move for Will Hart, because the price he may pay for this type of artistic/technological creativity and innovation is potentially totally alienating his "core audience". However on the other hand he may just find a whole new audience, ready to embrace this radically different way to present…
:::"THE SLOW JAM":::
I like it.
And maybe you will also when we start playing it on Soul-Patrol.Net Radio
In the meantime, pick up on this CD online and other outlets (like Bondy’s – NYC)
in your area
1. Hey Love [2005 Mix]
2. Move On
3. Here for You
4. Pimpin Ain’t Easy
5. Don’t Give In
6. I Have a Secret
7. Step by Step
9. Gemini (The Two of Them)
10. Hold on for Love
11. Give It on Up
12. Where Do I Go