The Delfonics – 1968 – La La (Means I Love You)

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A landmark album in harmony soul!

Thinking back on the early 70s east coast sound, it’s hard to come up with a more quintessential cut than “La La Means I Love You” – the lasting legacy of the group’s interaction with producer/arranger Thom Bell, and his groundbreaking style of soul music. Bell’s genius is firmly in place here — as he contributed the songs “Losing You”, “Can You Remember”, “You’re Gone”, “I’m Sorry”, and “Break Your Promise”, as well as the title cut. Great stuff all around and with a really heavenly sound!

 

Tracks

A1 I’m Sorry 2:49
A2 Break Your Promise 3:04
A3 The Shadow of Your Smile 3:24
A4 Hurt So Bad 2:04
A5 Losing You 2:32
A6 Alfie 2:49
B1  La-La (Means I Love You) 3:20
B2 You’re Gone 2:37
B3 The Look of Love 3:18
B4 Can You Remember 3:02
B5 A Lover’s Concerto 2:14

While La La Means I Love You is the trio’s debut LP, they had actually been working with Bell as far back as their 1966 single “He Don’t Really Love You.” By the time this album was cut, Bell had begun to establish a core of key Philadelphia musicians who would later become internationally recognized as MFSB. This conglomerate further enhances the already mellifluous vocal blend of the original Delfonics, which included brothers William Hart, Wilbert Hart, and Randy Cain. The multi-task role that Bell plays in the success of the Delfonics — as well as most every other Philly-based group fortunate enough to have been guided by his discernible ears — included producing and arranging as well as co-writing over half of the original material on the album. Among them are the Top 40 hits “I’m Sorry” and “Break Your Promise,” as well as the title track, which would become one of the group’s signature tunes. The sublime smooth grooves seemingly inherent in these arrangements practically define the distinction between the Philly soul scene and those more established in Detroit (Motown), Memphis (Stax), or Chicago (Chess). Bell’s trademark easy and languid rhythms, when married to the trio’s lush vocal harmonies, add new hues to the sonic soul music pallet of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The effectiveness of Bell’s innovative arrangements is perhaps most evident on the cover tunes. Astute listeners will inevitably note the influence of another highly regarded and successful songwriting/arranging team. The inclusion of two Bacharach/David classics — “The Look of Love” and “Alfie” — gives listeners more than just a hint at where much of Bell’s fresh and distinct ideas may have taken root. Additionally, the Delfonics’ cover of “Hurt So Bad” should not be missed, as it bests, or at the very least updates, Little Anthony & the Imperials’ more familiar version.

 

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5 Comments
  • Lisa S.
    Posted at 14:28h, 19 December 2008 Reply

    I can’t wait to hear this album… thank you so much!

    Happy Holidays!

    Grtz, L.

  • Dave
    Posted at 09:41h, 17 July 2011 Reply

    I have had a new appreciation for this recording after these many years. Maybe it is due to maturity. I must congratulate you for turning me around in my taste. I very much appreciate your effort with this blog.

  • Lucas Olson
    Posted at 10:13h, 09 February 2013 Reply

    Love!!!!!!!!! Thank you.

  • TheJazzHoppa
    Posted at 20:43h, 12 July 2013 Reply

    i can’t believe such a classic album and group doesn’t have over 100 comments. it tells you where the hype is these days

  • bowlisha
    Posted at 04:03h, 08 October 2014 Reply

    Wanted a digital copy of La La Means I Love You one that I already have on vinyl and was too lazy to rip it. As always you guys go way beyond. Tks so much for doing the work and for the bonus that was included. Sound Of Sexy Soul what a great surprise! It’s been 40 plus years since I heard it and boy did it bring back memories. Tks so much.

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