The Delfonics

Forever New

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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

When Fantasy reactivated the Volt label in 1999, it recorded urban contemporary newcomer Angel Sessions, as well as older soul veterans like the Delfonics, the Dramatics, and Brenda Holloway. Although not in a class with the Delfonics' seminal recordings of the late '60s and early '70s, 1999's Forever New is an enjoyable outing that finds the group in good form 31 years after "La La Means I Love You" burned up the R&B charts. William Hart's distinctive voice has held up well over the years, and his performances on "I Will Remember You," "When You're Gone," and other selections, demonstrate that time has not robbed the Philadelphian of his charisma. Produced by Fred Pittman and Preston Glass, Forever New tends to favor a high-tech urban contemporary production style that is a departure from the lush orchestral approach Thom Bell was known for (although Bell arranged "She's The Kinda Girl"). The horns and strings are missed, and the Delfonics (whose lineup on Forever New consists of Hart, Major Harris, and Futures graduate Frank Washington) would have been better served by an honest-to-God band -- even so, the material generally sounds organic rather than forced and unnatural. Also noteworthy is a remake of "Break Your Promise," which falls short of the excellence of the original version but is pleasing nonetheless. Forever New isn't essential -- casual listeners would be better off with a collection of the Delfonics' late '60s/early '70s hits -- but it's still a CD that seasoned Delfonics fans will appreciate.

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