Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Del Lords album The Elvis Club

I have not posted much to this blog in a while but I figured I would try writing a music review.

This week The Del Lords new recording The Elvis Club was unexpectedly released on iTunes.  I had been waiting for the new album and I was happy to wait until May but it was even nicer to have now.   The Elvis Club has 12 new songs and is the first new full length recording since 1990.  Well worth the listen and the album has something for everyone that likes good music.

When I as in college I had exactly enough money for one new record.  I had read reviews of The Del Lords' Frontier Days and The Ramones' Too Tough to Die.  While I had never heard a single song off of either I decided to go with the Del Lords and even though I eventually bought the Ramone's album I know it was the right call. Although I did loose track of them after When Johnny Comes Marching Home for many reasons.   I reconnected with them when I discovered that Eric Ambel was the guitarist for Steve Earle and played on my favorite Steve Earle album The Revolution Starts Now. At the time the only CD I could find in print was a Del Lords collection called Get Tough: The Best of the Del Lords.

The four members of the original band have gone on to successful careers with Eric Ambel a much in demand producer/side man and  and Frank Funaro is the drummer for Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven.  Manny Caiati has a successful non music related career and is being replaced a new bass player and Scott Kempner has a solo career and has been involved with various Dictators reunions.

The album opens with 3 songs that are pretty standard Del Lords fare.  They rock and are sung by Mr. Kempner in his best NY street growl.  "When the Drugs Kick In", "Princess" and "Chicks, Man" set the mood for what is about to come.    Eric Ambel's wall of sound production and Mr. Funaro's drumming are only just beginning.  "Chicks, Ma" has some cool lap steel playing would not be out of place on a David Lindley album. 

The fourth song is sung by Mr. Ambel and is a change of pace from the first three songs.   "Flying" opens with an acoustic guitar followed cool cymbal splash that calls the rest of the band.  Even though the song was written by Mr. Kempner it has a theme that seems prevalent in many of the songs on Mr. Ambel's solo albums.   This is the first song to showcase the bands growth and may well be The Elvis Club's masterpiece.

The songs "All of My Life" and "Everyday" are some more slower paced songs that rock with Scott Kempner singing lead.  Again these songs do not disappoint since there is no filler on this album. "Me and the Lord Blues" is another blues rocker sung by Eric Ambel which transitions to "Letter (Unmailed)".

"Damaged" is high powered everything including the kitchen sink rocker that would have been an immediate favorite in my younger days.  The Ian Stewart style piano is a nice touch.  "Damaged" gives way to "You Can Make a Mistake One Time" which is another dirty blues rocker. "Silverlake" another song sung by Mr. Kempner which gives way to the last song on album.  A Neil Young song called "Southern Pacific" with lead vocals by Eric Ambel.

The Del Lord's Elvis Club will not disappoint long time fans who have been eagerly waiting for new music from the band.  Music fans who stumble upon this recording will wonder how they missed this band the first time.  At least now they know.

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