Eric Lumbleau 03-November-2001 Fools Meeting

For diehard Canterbury jazz-prog obsessives like myself, the reappearance of this absurdly rare relic carries a profound weight of expectation. This embryonic assemblage were in fact the germinal wellspring from whence sprang some of this venerable genre's most significant artists. With Phil and Steve Miller, Pip Pyle and Lol Coxhill occupying its ranks, Hatfield And The North, National Health, Caravan, Matching Mole and Kevin Ayers And The Whole World can all trace their lineage back to these humble beginnings, rather surprising since the majority of this 1970 outing operates at a pronounced remove from the more exploratory exploits of these aforementioned ensembles.

The signature stylistic hallmarks of the Canterbury ethos (tricky, labyrinthine arrangements; poignant, wistful lyricism; and a whimsical lightness of touch pregnant with numinous grace) are only sporadically manifested, mostly in the form of Coxhill's sinuous saxophone maneuvers or a few of Phil Miller's plangent guitar passages. Mostly, Delivery traipse about that somewhat dated and specifically British jazz/blues/psych crossover terrain delineated (and more successfully traversed) by the likes of Colosseum. Brandishing her bluesy-chick-belting-it-out histrionics with shrew-like virulence, vocalist Carol Grimes assumes center stage here, her attack eerily mirroring Euro shriek queens Silvana Aliotta of Circus 2000 and Lady Jo Meek of Julian Jay Savarin infamy.

Fools Mate is modestly charming, though considering Delivery's pedigree, that's damning them with faint praise.

(Originally published in Alternative Press 135, p.86; reprinted by permission)

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