The Now Time Delegation was born from the ashes of the criminally obscure
King Sound Quartet, and is the brain child of legendary Austin
punk Tim Kerr, best known for his work with the Big Boys, Monkeywrench and Lord High
Fixers, just to name a few. Joining him are Alex Cuervo, formerly of
Blacktop, Kari Luna, Steve Adkins and Matt Verta Ray of Speedball Baby.
And then thereís Lisa. Lisa Kekaula has been getting a lot of attention
recently, mostly as the lead singer of The BellRays. She has been
consistently compared to the greatest female soul, R&B and gospel vocalists
of all times. And rightly so: she is the Tina Turner of our generation.
For an ensemble cast on a debut album, the band members sound surprisingly
comfortable with one another. The instrumentation is completely true to the
early '60s soul sound (nothing places you in 1964 quite like a Hammond
organ), yet it is infused with a noisier, more electric, element.
There is one completely inspired and brilliant track on Watch for
Today -- "Hanginí Tree", written by Tim Kerr, sounds like it could be a
plantation gospel handed down through the ages. And then thereís the
breathtaking interpretation of Curtis Mayfieldís "Keep On Pushiní". In
fact, six of the twelve tracks on the album are covers, and each exploits Lisaís
vocal talents to their full potential.
The remaining tracks, all original Kerr compositions (with help from
Cuervo), are solid, though not earth-shattering. Itís hard to go toe-to-toe
with Curtis Mayfield, Eddie Floyd and The Quik and come out on top. But I
give them all the credit in the world for even trying. The Now Time
Delegation has produced a more than top-notch soul album in the tradition of
classic Stax and Decca -- one which is even more delightful in light of the
fact that there just arenít many folks doing this stuff any more.
When I first heard about this record, I could hardly contain myself. I
expected it would be an earth-moving disk; the proverbial 11 on a scale of one
to ten. But once I finally got to listen to it, I had to acknowledge that,
well, itís really only a 9.5. Despite all its brilliance, rock and soul, Iím
nagged by the thought that Now Time could do even better...so Iíll
take the lyrics of the album-closer to heart and "look to tomorrow while I
watch for today".