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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

(the) Del Fuegos - Boston Mass~ & Smoking in the Fields*

Name: (the) Del Fuegos
Album(s): Boston, Mass~, Smoking In The Fields*
Year(s): 1985~, 1989*
Style: Alt-Country Pub Rock
Similar Bands: John Mellencamp, J Geils Band, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty
"One Word" Review: "Gritty, country blues Rock ballads"
Based Out Of: Boston, MA
Label: Slash~, Warner Brothers~, RCA*, BMG*
Boston, Mass - Cover & Sleeve
Boston, Mass - Back & Sleeve
Boston, Mass - Record
Smoking In The Fields - Tape Cover & Picts
Smoking In The Fields - Tape Lyrics & Notes
Boston, Mass (1985)~
  1. Don't Run Wild 3:30 (sample)
  2. Hand In Hand 3:02 (sample)
  3. I Still Want You 3:50 (sample)
  4. Sound of Our Town 3:15 (sample)
  5. Fade To Blue 3:54 (sample)/
  6. It's Alright 3:54 (sample)
  7. Hold Us Down 4:28 (sample)
  8. Night on the Town 3:06 (sample)
  9. Shame 3:19 (sample)
  10. Coupe de Ville 3:50 (sample)
Smoking in the Fields (1989)*
  1. Move With Me Sister 3:20 (sample)
  2. Down in Allen's Mills 3:20 (sample)
  3. I'm Inside You 4:27 (sample)
  4. Headlights 3:04 (sample)
  5. Breakaway 3:44 (sample)
  6. Dreams Of You 3:40 (sample)/
  7. The Offer 4:07 (sample)
  8. Part of This Earth 3:26 (sample)
  9. Stand By You 3:03 (sample)
  10. Lost Weekend 5:49 (sample)
  11. No, No Never 3:50 (sample)
  12. Friends Again 3:06 (sample)
Album Rating (1-10):
~Boston Mass: 6.0
*Smoking In the Fields: 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Dan Zanes - Guitar & Vox ~*
Woody Giessmann - Drums~ (Embarrassment)
Tom Lloyd - Bass,Vox~*,Cello, Glockenspiel, Arrangement, G Strings Quartet*
Warren Zanes - Guitar~
Adam Roth - Guitar, Vox*
Mitchell Froom - Producer, Asst Prod Keys~ * (Ronnie Montrose)
Joe Donnelly - Drums, Percussion*
Adam Roth - Guitars, Vox*
Dennis Kirk - Engineer~
Jim Nipar - Additional Engineering~
Troy Kreuger - Second Engineer~
James Ralston - Guitar~
Jorge Bermudez - Prod. Assistance Percussion~
Mike Reese - Mastered~
Just loomis - Photography ~
Jeff Price - Art Direction~
Jeri McManus - Art Direction~
Gary Hobbib - Management High Noon~*
Russ Rieger - Management High Noon~*
Seth Justman- Piano, Organ*
Magic Dick - Harmonica*
John Vanderpool - Tenor Sax (Heavy Metal Horns)*
Henry Douglas - Tenor Sax (Heavy Metal Horns)*
James McDaniel - Trumpet (Heavy Metal Horns)*
Dan Zupan - Baritone Sax (Heavy Metal Horns)*
John Ferry - Trombone (Heavy Metal Horns)*
Garrett Saviuk - Lead Trumpet (Heavy Metal Horns)*
Rick Danko - Vox*
Michael Loo - G Strings Quartet*
Daniel Mendelson - G Strings Quartet*
Gerry Itzkoff - G Strings Quartet*
Ralph Schuckett - String Arrangement*
George Cowan - Asst Recording*
Mike Reiter - Asst Recording*
Andrew Sedgewick - Asst Recording*
Darren Horner - Asst Recording*
Jesse henderson - Asst Recording*
George Marino - Mastered*
Teddy Trewhella - Asst Mastering*
Pietro Alfieri - Art Direction & Design*
Catanzaro & Mahdessian - Photography*
Ken Nahoum - Hand Photography*

Unknown-ness: I got the album Boston Mass shortly after I heard The Del Fuegos referenced in the Juliana Hatfield song My Sister in accordance to the Violent Femmes. The Femmes were my favorite band in High School, so any band who might have been placed on the same bill as them, as well as referenced in the Hatfield song, had to be an OK band for me. I don't know if I ever listened to the album after I bought it, so I really do not know how they sound, but I have an idea that they will be a mid 80's college radio / alt-country style band. The artwork does not do anything for the band positively, it is simple, bland, and gives the idea that the music will be bland too.

Album Review: “Don’t Run Wild” starts off the album with heavy menacing bass, but the song lightens up with guitars and drums, and it feels like a standard mid western rock song. Hand In Hand, features a quick rocking start, which continues throughout the song. It includes organ-type keyboards, and a pop-rock pace, similar to J Geils Band. His voice is not very musical; it is rougher, higher pitched sound, similar to the Rolling Stones’ sound. “I Still Want You” is a mellow, bluesy ballad. It then turns into a lament, with electric guitars and more of the mid-western, sleazy rock style. Metal guitars pick up the speed and pace at the beginning of the next track “Sound of Our Town.” These songs all sound like what bands like the A’s and Daddy Licks would be without the keyboards and instrumentation of new wave. These songs have the angst, and trembling in the vocals, and a driving rock structure, but they are produced in dirt and grime, rather than polish and synthesizers. But these songs could easily be converted. “Fade to Blue” continues the album’s symmetry, as this, a bluesy, drunken ballad follows a pub-rocking song. “It’s Alright” starts side two as a higher energy, hillbilly rock song. It has a bouncy groove, and the lyrics are structured like a story. Predictably, “Hold Us Down” is a slow, angst-filled, staggering song. The song grows louder as it progresses, but it never really takes off. Back on to the more up beat numbers, “Night On the Town” breaks from the tradition a little, and is not as powerful of a song as we’ve seen follow the slower songs. It follows a methodical groove rather than being a driving pub rock song. The minute of musical introduction ends with chatter, and the real song begins, with an organ in the background, and blue collar working man’s vibe takes over. This is a catchy song, and it feels a little like The Angels, “No Secrets” in the tone of his voice. “Shame” starts with a chugging electric guitar supporting a deliberate vocal melody. It is catchy, but it does not keep interest for much past the hook in the chorus. Finally, “Coupe De Ville” finishes off the record in consistent and proper fashion: like a lullaby to a drunk.

4 years later, this album was released. “Move with Me Sister” has the same honky-tonk red neck rock that the last album displayed. The cowbell and harmonica further build depth into the alt-country genre on this song. “Down in Allen’s Mills” is a straightforward, college-radio jangley pop song. Not catchy enough to be memorable, but most of this genre was just bland, echoey singer-songwriter material that became background sound with all the musical layering & tampering. “I’m Inside You” is a playful side to side swaying ballad, with string arrangements and an angelic chorus. A sad electric guitar weeps for the instrumental section. The harmonica introduces “Headlights” before the rag time piano sound, and rock n roll guitars create the somewhat conflicting soundscape. Everything in the song follows the same melody, but it is an eclectic vision, yet one that works well. “Breakway” is a steady driving song, simple in instrumentation, but it has a great build and delivery to the call and response chorus. This feels like a Tom Petty song. “Dreams of You” is a country rock ballad. The chorus is a start stop Credence Clearwater or Lynyrd Skynyrd inspired melody. Actually on second thought, the melody of the chorus could be compared to the chorus of “Say it Ain’t So” by Weezer, if covered by the aforementioned bands. As the song progresses, it becomes more rock than ballad, as a horn section accents the start stop melody of the chorus. Southern Blues Rock takes over on the first song on side 2 “The Offer.” The trumpets date the track, making it really feel like a song recorded in the 80’s. “Part of This Earth” breaks form and begins with a completely orchestral section. Then the pop nature of the guitar picks up the song and it feels like a Graham Parker song in structure and vocals. A keyboard is added, continuing to bolster the sound of Parker. “Stand By You” peels back the production, revealing a singer songwriter, campfire country song, complete with sing-a-long chorus and verses. It only sounds like guitar and vocals, but there is a keyboard/ piano there too. “Lost Weekend” makes up for the underproduction with a thick sound added to the guitars and harmonica. The bass is simple and catchy. But the melody drags its feet through out the song with the exception of the quick paced instrumental section around 2 minutes into the song. The section ends, and the song comes back for a revisit of the slow trudging tempo. The song ends in a flurry of drums and effects, and just whimpers out. “No No Never” begins with a simple drum beat, and rocking guitars & bass are laid over top. This is a catchy rock / pop number buried under southern rock production. It has elements of the MC5’s, as well as oldies rock n’ roll. Horns are brought in to fade the song out. The final song “Friends Again” feels like a continuation of “No No Never” more rock / pop produced with themed west blue collar flair. With more synthesizers, it could sound like the new wave’s best, 10 years earlier.

Stand Out Track(s):
Boston Mass: Hand In Hand
Smoking In the Fields: Friends Again

Links:
Del Fuegos - Allmusic
Del Fuegos - wikipedia
Del Fuegos - Fan Myspace page
Dan Zanes website
Del Fuegos - Starpulse
Del Fuegos - Trouser Press
Del Fuegos - Fan Blog
Dan Zanes Interview NPR
Del Fuegos - Rate Your Music
Del Fuegos - Foxy Tunes page
Del Fuegos - Forgotten 80's Gem

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