Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Wanderer returns

It's been 17 long years since I last had the chance of seeing the great Dion perform - at what used to be known as the Town and Country Club. But now he's back in London and playing at the Metro in Oxford Street on November 8th. To quote from the website:
Dion will be promoting his forthcoming album 'Son Of Skip James' (a Blue Label release): "A Rock & Roll legend whose huge hits in the 1960's The Wanderer and Runaround Sue, by his own admission, owed more to his love of BLUES and COUNTRY than to any Rock & Roll upbringing. As Dion notes on his first Grammy Nominated and critically acclaimed blues album 'Bronx In Blue' (A Blue Label Release) "when I was a kid, there was no Rock & Roll". Late nights listening to southern radio stations stretching the airwaves up to the Bronx where Dion would listen to John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and Hank Williams left a lasting impression that would eventually find its way on to this stunning new album.So we come to 'Son Of Skip James' or maybe even son of Bronx In Blue! A stunning second volume of fine blues singing from the legendary Dion. Kicking off with Chuck Berry's Nadine Dion then heads back towards Robert Johnson via Willie Dixon, John Estes, Skip James and Bob Dylan. Also included are superb original songs 'The Thunderer' and "Son Of Skip James" and the spoken word 'Interlude (Dylan Story)'.
Dion has been part of my life for as long as I can remember - from Teenager in Love through to his many fantastic solo hits on Laurie and the later bluesier records for CBS and on to the Phil Spector collaboration and beyond. When I kept my personal top ten in the early 60s he was third in the all time points list (behind Sam Cooke and Roy Orbison) with 14 entries including four number ones (The Wanderer, Love came to me, Sandy and Come go with me) and five number twos (Havin' Fun, I was born to cry, This little girl, Donna the Prima Donna and Drip Drop). His performances at the T&C in 1989 (to promote King of the New York Streets) and again in 1990 with Dave Edmunds were amazing. And when I went to Miami (where he now lives) in 2000 the first thing I heard as I stepped into a taxi was his Deja Nu album. The word legend is bandied around rather freely these days. But in the case of Dion it is truly justified.
* A quick RIP to Dale Houston of Dale and Grace who died last month. I never saw him perform live, but I did see Grace (Broussard) performing with Jay Chevalier at the Ponderosa Stomp this year (pictured).


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