R'n'R, New York Style
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Six years after the demise of the Dictators, guitarist Scott Kempner, no longer billed as "Top Ten," returned with a simple, no-frills rock & roll band, Bronx's Del Lords. Aided by lead guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Kempner sang his mix of love songs, party anthems, and social examinations in an energetic, raucous fashion matched by the band behind him. The Del Lords' debut, 1984's Frontier Days, was basic urban rock & roll, but there was no mistaking its country and R&B roots. Their next two albums, Johnny Comes Marching Home and Based On a True Story, contained some shining moments as well. After a lackluster live EP, the Del Lords bounced back with Lovers Who Wander. Ambel, who had recorded the solo album Roscoe's Gang in 1988, left the group following the release of Lovers. - Steve Huey, All Music GuideBased on a True Story is generally another proud blast from the Bronx heartland. "We don't follow fashion," writes Kempner (in "The Cool and the Crazy"), "Who needs it when you got style?" Oddly, the band's intrinsic savoir faire is less apparent than ever before, perhaps a casualty of too many guest stars. Mojo Nixon's participation in "River of Justice" adds helpful absurdity to the proceedings, but when a multi-tracked Syd Straw and others sing the chorus, it's easy to forget exactly whose record this is. "Judas Kiss" (a Kempner composition sung by Ambel) is a tremendous song despite the wrongheaded treatment, and others - "Whole Lotta Nothin' Goin' On," "Cheyenne" and the twelve-bar "A Lover's Prayer" - find the Lords firmly in charge. - Ira Robbins, Trouser Press"
Del-Lords' third LP finds balance between muscle and polish
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 07/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The third album from Scott Kempner's post-Dictators rock `n' roll band retained Neil Geraldo as producer, but dispensed with a good deal of the `80s production touches he'd brought to the group's previous album, Johnny Comes Marching Home. The sound is more balanced here, with backing vocals that aren't over-processed and drums that punch hard without being slathered in studio gloss. The synergy the band developed amongst themselves in early rehearsals and weekly live gigs was now synched with a producer who could capture their muscular sound on tape, and the results are superb.
Kempner launches the album with the hyperkinetic vocal of "Crawl in Bed," propelled by wicked, nearly confrontational rhythm guitar riffs and stinging electric leads, and anchored by punchy bass and drums. Guitarist Eric Ambel sings two leads, the wide swinging blues "A Lover's Prayer" and the rolling pop-rock "Judas Kiss," and college radio favorite Mojo Nixon provides a fire-and-brimstone introduction for "River of Justice." Pat Benetar, Syd Straw and Kim Shattuck add backing vocals on several tracks, and the band stretches out a couple of tunes with excellent instrumental interplay, including the hypnotic "Poem of the River" and garage-psych "The Cool and the Crazy."
As on the band's first two albums, Kempner mixes up songs of mind and body, finding external inspiration in the philosophy of Woody Guthrie, the poetry of Allen Ginsburg, and news reports of Reagan's crumbling America; but he also looks inward and discovers dreams of pastoral escape, torn romances, and even a bit of free-form Friday night raving. American Beat's CD reissue adds new liner note from Kemper and five bonus tracks that include alternate takes of "Lover's Prayer" and "Cheyenne," and a pair of lead vocals from bassist Manny Caiati that didn't make the original LP. With album number three the band finally got their rock `n' roll dream on tape. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]"
Great band, good album
John Antich | San Pedro, Calif. | 10/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They got it right this time. The track order I mean. My other copy of this CD had the wrong order of songs on the album sleeve. In any case, this is a good, but slightly over-produced, album. Maybe too many guest artists although Pat Benatar adds some fine backing vocals on "Poem of the River". Other standout songs include "Judas Kiss" and two versions of the wonderful "Cheyenne." I think that "Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Lovers Who Wander" are albums that fall into the GREAT category and are must haves for any fan of a gritty, roots rockin' style, but "Based on a True Story" is also well worth having as a testament to a fantastic rock band that, somehow, fell through the cracks during the mid-to-late 80's music scene. I truly hope the Del Lords get a well deserved music revival."