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Monday, November 10, 2008

Review: The Del Ripleys - Leisurama!

The Del Ripleys – Leisurama!
2008, Riviera Music

Coming out of Rancho Del Blazo, Illinois, The Del Ripleys are the outgrowth of Bobby Rivera and The Rivieras. Led by guitarist Bobby Rivera and vocalist Pauline York, The Del Ripleys have built a sound that is one part Dick Dale surf-rock, one part rockabilly and 100% cool-daddio retro rock. The Del Ripleys’ debut CD, Leisurama! is a trip down memory lane stylistically, while maintaining enough of an edge (ala The Stray Cats or The Squirrel Nut Zippers) to seem new and interesting.

Most of the songs on Leisurama! clock in under three minutes, sticking with time-honored principal of the three minute pop song. Wheelhouse is a guitar-led instrumental that sounds like the Surfaris gone cowboy (or like something from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack). Lovin’ Up A Storm is our first opportunity to hear Pauline York on vocals. Her throaty vocal style combined with Rivera’s Chuck Berry style guitar part is the perfect combination here. Antidote is built around a delicious violin lead that interplays with Rivera’s guitar like leaves in the wind.

Hate To Love Him sounds like a 1960’s R&B tune built around bar chords and a shuffle beat. #9 Train is pure rockabilly, and again displays Pauline York at the top of her game. I should explain that her voice isn’t pretty, per se. It’s brassy and full of rich tone and ultimately a pleasure to listen to. She has a very distinctive sound that fits into the R&B/rockabilly sound without the screaming of a Janis Joplin or Michelle Malone. Other highlights include Too Busy, Yellow Moon, Satisfied and Final Straw.

The Del Ripleys know how to go retro. With an obvious love for bands like Dick Dale, The Surfaris and even The Statler Brothers, The Del Ripleys come up with a sound that is rich in music history and yet surprisingly edgy. Bobby Rivera, Pauline York and band have hit on a perfect synthesis of their sounds that creates something more than the sum of their respective parts. Leisurama! is a pleasurable listen from start to finish, and is definitely worth your time to check out!

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about the Del Ripleys at You can purchase a copy of Leisurama! at

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