The Sound of Sexy Soul

by: The Delfonics

The Sound of Sexy Soul is the Delfonics' second long-player and builds upon the notable impact of their first, La La Means I Love You. This album provides the trio a platform for their next batch of crossover soul/pop hits, including "Somebody Loves You" and "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide From Love)." The developing Philly soul revolution which was being led by writer/musician/producer and arranger Thom Bell is increasingly evident throughout this disc. Incorporating lush tempos, potent string arrangements, as well as the Delfonics' dense vocal blend is a triumphant combination not only for Bell, but all devotees of Philadelphia's embryonic smooth-grooves movement. Evenly divided between six originals and six cover tunes, The Sound of Sexy Soul is perhaps the most accurate name an album of this nature could have. While the title might insinuate a collection of slow ballads, that is only a portion of the soul and pop crossover magic. There is certainly nothing leisurely about the original "You Can't Be Loving Him" or the feisty rendition of "Ain't That Peculiar," which happily suffers from an undeniable Motown groove, propelled by a familiar-sounding rhythm not too far removed from its Motor City roots. Among the other cover versions that the Delfonics reinvent for themselves on this LP are a psychedelic reading of "Scarborough Fair" and a mid-tempo reworking of "Going out of My Head." As with their previous album, the songwriting team of Thom Bell and William Hart scored not only the aforementioned hits -- "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide From Love)" and "Somebody Loves You" -- but several hidden gems, including "Everytime I See My Baby" and "My New Love." These tunes are textbook Philly soul and include trademark muted brass and string arrangements that support without impeding the trio's timeless vocal blend. In essence, they are able to delineate as well as personify the combination of influences that Bell and company drew upon in their quest to create a whole new soul music subgenre. The 2001 Buddha Records reissue marks the first time that The Sound of Sexy Soul has been available on CD. It boasts nearly perfect sound and a four-panel liner notes foldout which includes a historical essay from noted musicologist Bill Dahl as well as a reproduction of the original LP jacket. ~ Lindsay Planer

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