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DELTA Singularity CD (Elephant Stone)

A while back I reviewed some issues of Vendetta, whose editor Ben was a huge fan of Delta. These days he is running the Elephant Stone label and has released the first ever Delta recording to be widely available in the USA (you should still be able to get it over here too, one of the record shops in Birmingham had it).

This is a compilation of all the tracks from Delta's singles on Ché and Dishy, plus two demo tracks which have never before been available. It's an excellent introduction to early Delta for those who are new to the band or who only know the later releases (the early band, with guitarist Robert Cooksey, had a very different sound to the lineup that released the Slippin' Out and Hardlight albums). And even if you have the singles already, it is still well worth getting for the demos, and also to hear the previously vinyl-only Sugared-Up EP in CD quality. I'm particularly excited about the two previously unreleased demos, She's The One and Butterfly. I remember these from the band's gigs years ago, and it's really great to know that they have finally seen the light of day. Both tracks are so strong that it's astonishing that it's taken them 13 years or thereabouts to release them. There is a track called Dealt Out on here - whilst the title is unfamiliar, it is in fact a previously released track, the formerly untitled instrumental/spoken word track from the Sugared-Up EP.

For those unfamiliar with early Delta, they played a strongly late 60s/early 70s kind of music, which despite being able to pinpoint the era they were inspired by, it's not so easy to pick out specific bands. Some reviewers have tried to, but have been pretty far off the mark. If you ask me, they just sounded like Delta. They were essentially a rock band but encompassing a variety of sounds/moods, ranging from the 8 minutes plus psych-rock of Gun to the stripped-down, melancholic Take Away My Pain.

The two albums by the later lineup are excellent, but are by what is effectively a completely different band to this one. If you got into Delta late, you may be in for a shock with this. The later albums contain a number of songs which are closer to pop than anything the early band did, and have a sophisticated atmosphere with the additional orchestral instruments. The early band had a raw, dirty sound which I appreciate isn't to everyone's taste, but it was music I could really identify with as a teenager and I still get a buzz from listening to it now. As great as the new songs are, the version of Delta represented by this CD will always be the version of the band that is most important to me. Robert Cooksey is a vastly underrated guitarist and it is a great shame that he is no longer making music for public consumption. But at least there is this material available. This band was the most important band to me during my teenage years (or at least of joint importance with their previous band The Sea Urchins) and I heartily recommend you listen and find out why.

Contact the label at ben@elephantstonerecords.com and/or Guy, the band's manager, at gospel.frequencies@macunlimited.net


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