Monday, February 19, 2018

Dion - New York Is My Home (2016)

Dion DiMucci was making hit records before The Beatles actually called themselves The Beatles. Unfortunately, the singer of early R&B and doo-wop influenced hits like "The Wanderer," "I Wonder Why," and "Runaround Sue," and several years later the soft, folk-rock anthem "Abraham, Martin, and John," is largely unknown today except by people who were listening to Top 40 radio way back in the pre-British Invasion years. Most younger people have never even heard his name, let alone his music.

The good news is Dion, who still only uses his first name professionally, has never left us and he's recorded dozens of albums. Much of his work is heavily influenced by the blues as is his latest set of original songs, New York Is My Home.

Dion wrote or co-wrote eight of the ten tracks on this album and, while he still sings quite well at age 76, his voice sounds nothing like the one he possessed back in his hitmaking days of "Ruby Baby." It's not worse, just less powerful, and more appropriate for his latest offerings.

This set has a lot of life in it, especially on irreverent stuff like, "Can't Go Back To Memphis," "I'm Your Gangster Of Love," and "I'm All Rocked Up." "The Apollo King" is a rabble rousing testimonial to the famous saxophonist Big Al Sears.

On the softer, singer-songwriter side there is the self-reflective "Visionary Heart" and the title track, a love letter to his hometown that is a terrific duet with Paul Simon.

The album was produced by Jimmy Vivino (Conan O'Brien's bandleader) who played lead guitar and all keyboards. He also sang backup.

Be sure to read read more about this member of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame on his website and buy the album here.

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