Dion, Bronx in Blue (DMR, 2006)

He's been a teenager in love, and king of the New York streets. He's the kind of guy who likes to roam around, but he couldn't keep away from Runaround Sue. He's sung doo-wop, rock, folk, and gospel. He was the classic guy's guy, when everybody knows that crooners are supposed to be ladies' men. In a remarkable career spanning close to fifty years, Bronx native Dion has been a lot of different things, but a few things have remained constant. First and foremost, Dion is a great singer. Also, even though his musical direction has gone on a few tangents, he's never been dull. And perhaps most importantly, even now at 66, Dion simply exudes cool. "After all," as Lou Reed pointed out when inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "who can be hipper than Dion?"

Now Dion has re-emerged with Bronx in Blue, an homage to the blues and country music that inspired Dion to become one of rock music's founding fathers way back when. Along with two original songs, Bronx in Blue includes covers of some of the great blues standards, including Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love," Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" and "Traveling Riverside Blues," and Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues." The instrumentation is sparse, but the combination of Bob Guertin's light drumming and Dion's remarkably deft picking on acoustic guitar works spectacularly throughout the album. Dion demonstrates an understanding of the blues rivalling that of the Stones and even Eric Clapton, and manages to exceed those performers in his ability to do justice to the old songs without drastically altering the original arrangements. This is the blues in as pure a form as it still can be done, and it works.

Bronx in Blue
is a brilliantly conceived and executed disc of simple, homemade blues from one of rock's living legends. Anybody in the mood for some front porch acoustic blues, or even some basic guitar music in general, will love this.

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

Bxchick said...

Dion DiMucci, king of the New York streets, definitely has a role in the history of rock n roll, his many hits from I Wonder Why to The Wanderer, and Runaround Sue take me back to my days in The Bronx, hanging around Arthur Ave, Roosvelt HS, Fordham Rd. Dion has done us proud, he proudly tells everyone at his concerts about his growing up in The Bronx.....God Bless You Dion may you continue to bring back those good memories for all of us.