The Delphonics: He Don’t Really Love You
Billy Stewart: Summertime
From Jimmy Bishop On Stage Live At the Nixon Theatre (Meka, 1967)
I don’t mean to sound immodest but this is a really f—ing cool album; a 1967 live album recorded at the now-demolished Nixon Theater in Philadelphia. Jimmy Bishop was both a local Philly radio DJ and helped run Arctic Records and this album cobbled together different performances at the Nixon showcasing emergent R&B talent.
Look at this line-up. I dare you to front on it. The fact that the Delfonics are billed as the Delphonics is kind of awesome, by itself. For the show, they performed their first hit, “He Didn’t Really Love You” which certain foreshadows some of the sweet soul classics they would pen in just a few years. Chicago’s Five Stairsteps (here, just billed as the Stairsteps) came with two, as did the Intruders. But it’s all about Billy Stewart here.
By this point, Stewart had already debuted his iconic cover of the Gershwin’s tune “Summertime” but for this gig, he took it to some whole next level, running his mic through some kind of echo effect. The resulting sound is one of most bugged out performances I’ve ever heard; it sounds practically psychedelic. This isn’t a cheap LP to come by and I basically traded out a heavy Ohio soul album just to have this one song. Every time I hear it, it just blows my mind.