Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock
'Frontier Days', the band s debut album, practically jumped off the turntable when first released in 1984. These guys showed that they could rock as hard as the meanest punk band of the day, but they also kept an ear towar... more »
'Frontier Days', the band s debut album, practically jumped off the turntable when first released in 1984. These guys showed that they could rock as hard as the meanest punk band of the day, but they also kept an ear towards the melody of the songs. With Kempner handling most of the songwriting duties as well as most of the lead vocals, Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel was able to let loose and show off some of the streamlined rock licks that he learned from his former boss. 'Frontier Days' is the picture of a band that is street-smart, hungry and ready to prove to the world that they are a force to be reckoned with...and a force they were! Trowser Press exclaimed 'the Del-Lords embrace rock s basic components with such skill and verve that they outshine most everyone else on the scene.' Rolling Stone gave the album 4 stars, while esteemed rock critic Robert Christgau graded the album an A- (his only complaint was that he didn t feel that LouWhitney s production was commercial enough to get the band well-deserved radio airplay). Almost inexplicably, 'Frontier Days' has never been released on CD until now. Songs include 'How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live', 'I Play The Drums', 'Burning In The Flame Of Love', 'Get Tough' and the six other tunes on the original release. Also on this release are five never-before-heard bonus tracks and new liner notes from band member Scott Kempner. This American Beat Records exclusive release of the Del-Lords 'Frontier Days' is a definite must-have for any fan of gritty, honest and powerful rock & roll!
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1984 debut from Scott Kempner's post-Dictators rock band
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 07/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After propelling The Dictators with his guitar for three albums, Scott "Top Ten" Kempner struck out on his own, forming the Del-Lords with ex-Blackhearts guitarist Eric Ambel, future Cracker drummer Frank Funaro, and bassist Manny Caitati for this 1984 debut. Kempner's sole co-write for the Dictators ("What It Is" from Bloodbrothers) gave only a hint of what he'd offer as the Del-Lords' primary songwriter. Intact from his days with the Dictators was the straightforward punch of electric guitar rock, but where the Dictators played fast and loud staccato rhythms that presaged punk rock, the Del-Lords struck a more classic rock `n' roll vibe, with rockabilly and mid-60s guitar rock replacing the Dictators' primal approach.
The Dictators performed songs of pop culture and adolescent joys (TV, wrestling, girls, science fiction), but the just-turned-30 Kempner had more serious things to get off his chest. The Dictators lack of commercial success left Kempner well placed to write about the struggles of the underclass. Three years into the Reagan administration, Kempner had become a musical activist, and though the Del-Lords didn't muster the confrontational spittle of the era's hardcore bands, neither did they shy away from the disastrous effects of the dry spout of trickle down economics. Kempner's songs include office workers augmenting meager incomes with illicit nighttime jobs, mercenaries prowling Central American, and tough times stretching from Brooklyn to Beirut. The album's opener is a revitalized take on the depression era "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live," ramped up to a rocker and fleshed out with original verses.
But Kempner wasn't completely bound to social commentary, as the joyous "I Play the Drums" anticipates Ben Vaughn's equally contented "Rhythm Guitar" by several years. There are also straightforward rock `n' roll songs of love and broken hearts, including the blue highway of "Feel Like Going Home." Kempner describes in this reissue's new liner notes how the Del-Lords peered with the Blasters, Jason & The Scorchers and Los Lobos, yet each grew from a unique root. The Del-Lords stuck most closely to the basic four-piece rock `n' roll vibe, forsaking country, norteno or retro flavors. You could add the Flamin' Groovies (whose "Shake Some Action" descending guitar riff is given a nod on "Double Life") to the list of peers, but the Del-Lords didn't carry as strong a British Invasion vibe.
Producer Lou Whitney (Morells, Skeletons) keeps to the band's "two guitars, bass and drums, just the way God intended," though engineer Jon Smith didn't get the sonic weight Neil Geraldo and Gordon Fordyce captured on the band's third album, Based on a True Story. Kempner and Ambel prove a dynamic guitar duo, and the rhythm section seems to live in the pocket. This is all the more bracing when you consider that basic rock `n' roll wasn't burning up the charts in 1984. American Beat's CD reissue adds five bonus tracks, including four additional tunes highlighted by the passionate "Love on Fire," and an edgier alternate take of "Shame on You." This is a rockin' album from a year not generally noted for its basic rock `n' roll. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]"
An Americana Classic
Laura Ann | Westbury, NY | 07/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was 19 and i loved rock n roll and punk rock. I used to go see Joan Jett and loved Eric Ambel who was a Blackheart at the time. Scott was a Dictator so I knew he was a rock god. When i first saw this record on the wall of my favorite Long Island record store i had not heard a song on it but bought it because of Scott and Eric.
"Frontier Days" is a classic album. Scott, you did better than Bruce on "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live," and the version of that classic on this album is still my favorite of them all. "Livin' On Love" is Eric Ambel's vocal breakout and i still love to hear this song as much as i did twenty-five years ago. Frank Funaro's "I Play The Drums" is one of those cool bug your neighbors songs to blast, but at the end of the day it is the beauty and grace of Scott Kempner's songs that take hold on the ear. Listen to "Feel Like Going Home" and Scott Kempner's heart and soul come pouring through. The Del-Lords will always be one of my all time favorite bands and i treasure this album and my memories of their live concerts i was lucky enough to see. If you like pure American rock n roll you must own this album! The only bummer is the cheap packaging this label does on their covers. At least Scott Kempner wrote the liner notes though."
Glory glory glory!!!
C. Hesting | Ft. Wayne, IN | 08/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Today there is happiness in my household, because the Del-Lords are finally out on c.d.! For the last few years I have groused to anyone who will listen that when my deteriorating cassette of Frontier Days snapped, the last bond to a great rock and roll band would be broken forever. Thank God, no more whining...now everyone can hear this gem. This baby smokes, start to finish. Bruce Springsteen crosses C.C.R.s path at Green Day speed. Bruce fans would do well to hear How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times played with real verve and style. Burning in the Flame of Love and Pledge of Love are dressed up with fine D-L harmonies. Get Tough fulfills the promise of its title, and the subject matter of Double Life is surprisingly moving. The closing song, Feel Like Going Home, is the crown of this record. Road songs are a rock and roll cliche, but the band manages to catch a particular touring moment with telling detail. One of the best parts about listening to Frontier Days? Knowing there is another D-L c.d., Johnny Comes Marching Home, that is just as good."