CD Review: Scott Kempner's "Tenement Angels" (Re-Issue)
GB Music June 16, 2011
Though best-known as a founding member of the Dictators and The Del-Lords, singer/songwriter/guitarist Scott Kempner should also garner attention for his 1990 solo release Tenement Angels. Although admittedly not familiar with this release before it was dropped into my hands, I quickly realized why this is such an important re-release for the growing catalog of GB Music.
Photo courtesy of GB Music
The guitarist's first solo release, Tenement Angels was originally recorded at Column One Recording in Springfield, Missouri(a studio built by Boxcar Willie of all people)and released in June of 1992 on the Razor & Tie label. When Tenement was originally released and since, there were questions about label distribution and marketing, therefore it is really cool for this record to once again, see the light of day.
Kempner brings in Del Lord band-mate Manny Caiati as bassist and co-producer, while other musicians appearing are members of the Skeletons including Lou Whitney, who plays bass, sings and also co-produced and engineered the record.
Other guest Skeletons include vocalist Jim Wunderle, Kelly Brown on keyboards and vocals, Bobby Lloyd Hicks on drums and vocals, Joe Terry on keyboards and vocals and D. Clinton Thompson on guitar and vocals.
The 12 tracks unleashed here are all gems, filled with rich harmonies, killer keyboard runs, raw acoustic embellishments, a bad-ass rock-a-billy vibe and of course plenty of loud, rocking guitars. The music as a whole brushes broad strokes, as the individual songs contrast so well.
From the roots-rockin' vibe of "You Move Me" and "Precious Thing", to the hard rockin' "I. C. U." and "I Wanna Be Yours", to the Brooklyn-ized "Hot Rod Angel" and "Livin' With Her, Livin' With Me", or the simply infectious "Love Among Ruins" and "(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet", Tenement Angels delivers the goods from start to finish. Oh, and lest we forget the soulful ballads "Do You Believe In Me?” and "Tender Mercies."
New York City-based GB Music does a stellar job on the re-issue packaging with the CD featuring a bonus track, "Merry Xmas Baby", while the cool LP release is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and comes with a limited edition, Kempner-signed and numbered poster and free digital download. Tenement is a truly enjoyable, "diamond in the rough" slab of genuine rock-and-roll that needs to be heard… so give a listen!
To order a copy of Tenement Angels or learn more about Scott Kempner, visit www.scottkempner.com or www.gbmusic.com.
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