Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Del-Fi Records was a Los Angeles label best known for signing Richie Valens and releasing La Bamba, plus being the home of early rockers The Bobby Fuller Four, Chan Romero of Hippy Hippy Shake fame (covered by The Beatles live), and even a young Frank Zappa. It was a small, but very cool label.

Toronto group The Del-Fi's are a small, but very cool new band. Small, in that they are an indie group, immersed in music, not hype and trends. Very cool, in that they have a great raw-roots feel, certainly something that the musicians around the old Del-Fi Records would have appreciated. Very cool as well, because they are 20-to-30-year-olds, probably never heard of Del-Fi Records or Chan Romero before, but sure love and can play the real roots stuff. They are old souls.

The group is an off-shoot project of songwriter Jerry Leger, one of the best young talents of the last half-decade, with a half-dozen of his own consistently strong albums. These are always rich, impressively-written sets, but sometimes you gotta just get the gang together and blast, you know? Leger had saved up a bunch of songs that had that old feel, with outlaws and femme fatales and Saturday nights and rockabilly and noisy bars. With a some fellow compatriots such as Sam Cash and Aaron Comeau, the Cameron House crew, they rolled into Comeau's trailer studio (The Trailer, natch) and in ten hours had eleven cuts down.

I wouldn't call it ragged,or sloppy,or raw, even if the band was after that feel, because it's not really true. Rough and ready perhaps, but this bunch is just too good for mistakes or late cues or parts that don't quite work. Mandolins, pedal steel, parlour piano, harmonica, it all fits right in as natural as can be. And while the songs were orphans, they aren't throw-aways from Leger's notebook. Who's Been Haunting You, with its Tex-Mex organ and slashing garage guitar is a wise take-down of a boy with a problem. Tabletop Jukebox might be a sentimental look back at seemingly better days, but it's hardly a novelty number, it's a statement of purpose: "Bring me back across the tracks, that's where I belong."

Catch the album launch why doncha? The Del-Fi's will release Crowd Pleaser with a show at Junction City Music Hall on Saturday, December 19.

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