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Del Fuegos: Smoking in the Fields

Part of the roots-rock movement of the 1980s, the Del Fuegos hailed from Boston and released several acclaimed albums during the mid-'80s before falling into critical disfavor. The band was formed and led by brothers Dan (vocals) and Warren Zanes (guitar) and also featured a rhythm section of bassist Tom Lloyd and former Embarrassment drummer B. Woody Giessmann. Their energetic debut, The Longest Day, was released on the Slash label in 1984 to wide acclaim for its simple '60s-influenced rock & roll energy, high-quality songwriting, and wide emotional range. Released in 1985, Boston, Mass. was a homage to the group's working-class roots a la Bob Seger, but 1987's Stand Up was a major misstep, panned by critics as bland, boring, and indulgent. Giessmann left the band, which recorded one more album, 1989's Smoking in the Fields, which reflected a newfound maturity and love of R&B. In spite of their return to critical favor, the band quietly disappeared shortly after the release of Smoking in the Fields.
-- Steve Huey, All-Music Guide

The Del Fuegos were heavily influenced by The Band, and they invited Rick Danko to sing harmony on the track "Stand by You" on Smoking in the Fields. Here's a review of the album, copied from the Trouser Press Record Guide:

It isn't the illusion of reclaimed youth that makes Smoking in the Fields such a welcome improvement over Stand Up, it's the discovery that maturity isn't such a bad thing. Secret weapon harp demon Magic Dick (ex-J. Geils Band) sends out waves of soulful moaning on some of the songs as horns and tasteful strings gussy up others; the lively variety show of smoking R&B, Stonesy guitar rock, rugged pop and whiskey-scarred soul (shades of Mink DeVille) scores on all four fronts. The record gets on such a roll that even a tender love song Zanes croons (with guest harmony by Rick Danko) over acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin backup turns up in the middle of Side B without any loss in momentum. Producer Dave Thoerner deserves plenty of credit for fitting the Fuegos' music into appropriate arrangements (that couldn't simply be worked out onstage) and still coming up with a full-bodied album that sounds completely natural.


  1. Move With Me Sister
  2. Down in Allen's Mills
  3. I'm Inside You
  4. Headlights
  5. Breakaway
  6. Dreams of You
  7. Offer
  8. Part of This Earth
  9. Stand By You
  10. Lost Weekend
  11. No No Never
  12. Friends Again


(only members of the Band listed)
  • Rick Danko, background vocal

Del Fuegos - Smoking in the Fields - 45:20 - 1989 - RCA 9860-1-R9
Compact Disc: RCA 9860-2-R13
Distributed by BMG.

AMG Rating: 5 (out of 9)

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