Monday, March 06, 2006

Dion's got the blues

Dion's blues album? Yes. At a January benefit show to kick off the release of his new album Bronx In Blue, the doo-wop legend explained that even more than R&B, it was the blues that intrigued him as a lad and made him want to be in the music biz. You might have had a hint of that in his late 60's/early 70's Belmont-less solo days when he re-appeared as a folkie. And then later, he dove into gospel, made peace with his rock beginnings and now was ready to dig further back for some more history.

In the albums notes, he toasts Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker as early inspirations. Relying not just on his warm voice but his ample guitar playing, he's more than credible as a blues man, even if that still sounds strange to say about him. Along with those forbearers, he also covers Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin' Hopkins and Hank Williams. While some writers will note this just as a curiosity, this album deserves more respect than that. Nowadays when say Eric Clapton tries to do a blues album (i.e. his Robert Johnson tribute), you realize how far from his roots he's come. As for Dion, he's just coming full circle.


Blogger Jab @ BZT said...

Odd I find this review here today, the 25th of April.
I got this cd the other day and listened to it for the first time last night. I had heard "Who Do You Love" once on Rob Reinharts Acoustic Cafe show and it didn't really move me, so I wasn't expecting much from the album. But, I gotta say, first song in, which wasn't Who Do You Love, I was immediately entertained. And, I remained so throughout. The album is as stripped down as it can be, just Dion and Bob Guertin who's credited as the drummer. Although the drums sound to be from an electronic kit, I can overlook that because there just there. They don't ask for attention. Overall, it's supercool.

As we were listening to it, we found ourselves racking our brains trying to remember even one song he did with the Belmonts. We came up with Runaway. That was one of his, right?

You'd think after numerous stints as an oldies DJ I'd remember more of their songs. But, I was also a rock DJ back when they actually had live DJ's overnight, so it doesn't surprise me that the earlier memories were wiped out.

4:22 PM  

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