The year 2020 started off great with me first seeing Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio three times in 9 days, opening for Lettuce on January 2nd and 3rd and then as the headliner at Terminal West in Atlanta on January 9. The Seattle-based soul-jazz groove combo release their new album “I Told You So” this past week on January 29th.
The album was recorded in late 2019 for an early 2020 release. When the Covid-19 crisis hit the band couldn’t tour and decided to postpone the album’s release which ultimately came last week. The personnel on the album is of course Delvon Lamarr on B3 organ), Jimmy James on guitar and Grant Schroff from the Polyrhythmics filling in on drums. At the beginning of 2020 the band brought on Dan Weiss on drums, who gigged at the beginning of the year as a permanent band member.
“I Told You So” has a classic soul feel and mostly has a bigger feel than a trio because of the wall of sound from the Leslie speaker and Delvon playing left-handed bass lines along with the bass pedals. It’s a fine example of some extra heavy grooves with a timeless fell. Check it out track-by-track with commentary from the band –
Hole In One: Jimmy James takes the lead on ‘Hole in One’ with a repeat pattern that immediately makes and impression. Grant Schroff’s pocket is locked and loaded and Delvon takes a support role here with some great organ rolls. Midway Delvon with some super funky riffs and Jimmy moves forward with the main theme. Hole in One is foot pedal heavy and its hot with the sustained high end. It’s clear from this tune that Jimmy and Delvon connect very well in playing off and with each other.
It’s an inside joke/event that happened while we were at our friends Madeline’s house. We were playing with the dogs, throwing a tennis ball. She was sitting on the floor when the ball slipped out of my hand, and did a slow roll right into her crouch. She throws her hands in the air and yells “Hole In One” and “I said we gotta write it.”
Call Your Mom: The timing on ‘Call Your Mom’ is great with Jimmy laying down a repeat with Delvon spiking in with a perfectly timed right hand chord which effectively becomes the rhythm sections with Grant as Jimmy plays a well formed bluesy solo. One of the most fun parts of this album is that Delvon’s playing a wall of sound makes it feel like much more than a trio.
When we were in the studio, our studio engineer Jason Gray asked me what the name of the song was? I said ‘I have no idea’ then he said “Call Your Mom.” “I said ‘That’s dope, let’s do it.” It wasn’t until months later that I realized that there was a sticker on the back of my Hammond B3 from a club we played at in Birmingham AL called Mom’s Basement. The sticker says “Call Your Mom.”
Girly Face: Delvon sets a low end cruisin’ groovin’ vibe with Jimmy chang-a-lang propelling this one on a nice smooth cruise. The organ is so voice-like, I can imagine some cool lyrics in a remake of this one. It just floats all the way through.
Girly Face is my nickname for my daughter, Arzelia Marie.
From the Streets: From the Streets is a lo-fi, more gritty groove with Jimmy establishing the main melody early on. Delvon plays basically the whole tune powering only the left hand bass and pedals. Grant takes a brief solo stint midway and Jimmy comes back with the A part – it’s a Jimmy James showpiece.
My friends and I were a bunch of thugs in our youth. We used to run the streets and cause all kinds of trouble. Hence, From The Streets.
Fo Sho: Jimmy lays down the hinky groove with Delvon alternating between long sustains and poppin short chords. Grant takes a short solo midway setting up a stratospheric flight from Jimmy and back down to a wavy ride with Delvon who can surf with the best of them. The trio chemistry is strong on this one.
Fo Sho is a phrase that we all use quite often.
Aces: Jimmy plus Delvon on the bass pedals makes you feel like it’s a larger ensemble than three. A standout for this one is the drum backbeat with Jimmy and Delvon chiming in with a two chord repeat. Delvon whips another bubbling concoction midway through and it’s all gravy. Jimmy embarks on an extended psychedelic trip before the close out theme of Aces.
The drummer on this album Grant Schroff is one of the writers of this song and he named it while we were on the train in Europe.
Careless Whisper: This cover of the George Michael tune started out as when Jimmy quoted a snippet of the song at a couple of gigs and ultimately the band started playing it live. Delvon’s wife Amy Novo encouraged the band to record it for this album. Honestly, I didn’t know the name of the tune until this album but immediately recognized the melody after the intro. The silky smooth organ intro heralds Jimmy bringing the main melody. Delvon plays so sweetly, you can totally hear the vocal parts. This one was one of he early singles off the album. It makes great use of the chorale on the Leslie speaker just slow rolling the whole time and is a beautiful rendition.
Right Place, Right Time: A quick guitar solo opens on this faster paced tune. After the head, this one has a flurry of syncopation with Jimmy and Delvon echoing each other on the left and right channel respectively. Jimmy’s play his solo on right channel and Ben Bloom from the Polyrhythmics on the left. The trio cruises together to the short stop finish.
While in the studio, our friend Ben Bloom (guitarist of Polyrhythmics) came in. I asked him if he had his guitar and he said yes. He went and grabbed it and then we wrote this song on the spot.
I Don’t Know: I Don’t Know starts with a funky James Brown feel. It’s another tune where it feels like Delvon is singing on organ. I hear the lyrics of Tower of Power’s “This Type of Funk” going nicely with the melody. It’s fun when the bridge has the three going around the horn in sections. DL’s solo here is tres funky and I’m loving the sustained notes. It’s a fine closeout to a sweet sounding album.
We came up with this idea while we were on tour in Europe. We were asking each other what to call it and everybody kept saying “I Don’t Know.” So we decided that would be the name of the song.
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