The Delcos

Boy Could They Sing

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The Delcos were one of a handful of acts recorded by the legendary Juanita Henderson who was a songwriter and manager of local Mishawaka, IN, pop talent who couldn't get any of the majors interested in her stable. She set up her own label and publishing company as a result. The Delcos hit pay dirt with the single "Arabia" in 1962, which was later re-released by Showcase, Monument's subsidiary. Enough history. There are 28 tracks here that make up virtually the entire recorded history of the Delcos -- whose records trade for hundreds of dollars these days, with good reason: they were a mixture of Northern soul, doo wop, and street smart R&B, consisting of four black singers backed by an almost all-white band. From "Arabia," the only possibly known tune to the general public who were teens in the early '60s, through the scathing R&B "When You Dance" to the glorious doo wop soul of "Tonight," all the way to the unreleased soul balladry of "Sunday Kind of Love" to the infectious, psycho rock & roll of "Diddy Bop," with its off the crazy meter sax solo, the Delcos deliver on track after track for over an hour. This isn't a trip through memory lane, but a trip into inner space, into a place no one ever heard of in a time when the only thing people cared about was Elvis in the movies. The only reason this isn't an absolute classic is the because of the package: other than track listings and the admission that some of these tracks were taken from acetates and even vinyl, there is almost no information on the members of the band and what the hell happened to them. The Delcos are a great example of those 10,000 doo wop records that were issued in the late '50s and early '60s that Greil Marcus talked about in Lipstick traces. They are just ciphers now, blown to the winds of (nearly) unmarked history.

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