Desert Island Discs: “Frontier Days” by The Del-Lords (1984)

Del Lord
Image from

Image from

You gotta admire a band that names itself after the director of The Three Stooges’ movies. This is another album (cassette) that I bought on the strength of hearing it in a record store. I’ve had phenomenal luck with that.

The Del-Lords began in 1982 led by Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, guitarist for the seminal punk band The Dictators. He was joined by Joan Jett’s lead guitarist Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, drummer Frank Funaro, and bassist Manny Caiati. They released four albums starting with 1984’s Frontier Days. wrote that Frontier Days “was noted for its guts, street smarts, and twangy guitars, a balanced blend of Bruce Springsteen meets Johnny Thunders.”  According to Trouser Press: “The Del-Lords stood in the forefront of back-to-the-roots countryfied urban rock’n’roll, skipping any particular stylistic imitation to enthusiastically bang out perceptive tunes of hard times and true love. (They) embraced rock’s basic components with such skill and verve that they outshone most everyone else on the scene.”

And according to Variety: “If the world were a just and fair place, Scott Kempner would be stopped regularly by musicians and music fans thanking him for the effect the records he made with the Del-Lords and the Dictators had on their lives. Kempner’s music is impossible to not like: He’s the rare master at making three-chord rock ‘n’ roll – inspired by the 1950s and ’60s – sound fresh and vital, simultaneously urban and twangy, heartfelt, political and personal.”

There are so many stellar tracks on this album that to single out any of them would be a grave disservice. The best ones include “Living On Love,” “Mercenary,” “Get Tough,” “Shame On You,” “Pledge Of Love,” and “I Play The Drums” (which Funaro kicks serious butt on). The track that jumps out at me every time, though, is the single “Burning In The Flame Of Love.”

Well, I know what comes next
All the promises that will one day be broken
Hearts will be broken

And ain’t I the perfect fool
‘Cause I know what love can do
But I still need to touch the pyre
Still need to stand in the fire

As time goes by and the seasons turn
It’s a lesson I’ll never learn
‘Cause in my heart I knew
That when I got next to you
That I’d be burning in the flame of love
Once again I’m burning in the flame of love
Once again I’m burning in the flame of love

I have the same beat-up old cassette that I bought back in 1984 at the Great American Music record store on Minnesota Highway 65 in Fridley. Amazingly, I’ve been able to shepherd it all these years. I note, though, that at long last it’s been reissued on CD. So maybe I can retire the cassette. A Desert Island Disc to be sure.

One Comment on “Desert Island Discs: “Frontier Days” by The Del-Lords (1984)”

  1. […] “Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock” by Monsters Of Lite Rock (2013) 4/1/13: “Frontier Days” by The Del-Lords (1984) 9/7/12: “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” by Any Trouble (1980) 7/26/12: “Souvenir […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s