Thursday, July 22, 2010
Is it OK to say you grew up in the '70s and somehow never really got into Bruce Springsteen?
None of my hometown friends were into Springsteen when he hit it big in the mid-'70s. But when I went away to college, I started working at the newspaper and found myself one desk over from a guy who was a hardcore Springsteen fan. You did anything with that guy and you got the gospel according to Bruce.
Somehow, perhaps by hearing it played at Truckers Union (our local record store), I was introduced to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the great R&B big band that thundered out of Asbury Park, New Jersey, not long after Springsteen hit it big.
Part of Southside Johnny Lyon's appeal (to me, at least) was that he was not Springsteen, yet he was one of Springsteen's pals, doing any number of Springsteen songs and sharing a collaborator in Miami Steve Van Zandt. That gave my friend and I some common ground.
Part of the Jukes' appeal (again, to me) was that their music was more consistently upbeat and joyous than that of Springsteen, especially on "This Time It's For Real." That was their second album, released in 1977. It was arranged and produced by Van Zandt, who wrote eight of its 10 songs.
Side 1 is an extended nod to classic R&B, with a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Without Love" and tunes on which the Coasters and the Satins sing backup.
Side 2 gives way to five original R&B workouts, all written by Van Zandt (and three with Springsteen as his co-writer).
We have three of the latter for you. Finishing out Side 2, they go from laid-back, stripped-down blues ("I Ain't Got The Fever No More") to Brill Building-inspired orchestration ("Love On The Wrong Side Of Town") to primal, thundering drums, piano and guitars ("When You Dance").
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes - I Ain't Got The Fever No More (Mp3)
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes - Love On The Wrong Side Of Town (Mp3)
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes - When You Dance (Mp3)
"This Time It's For Real" is out of print, at least on its own. It is available on this 2-on-1 CD also featuring "I Don't Want To Go Home," the group's fine debut LP from 1976.
(Note to Springsteen fans: I appreciate your passion and I appreciate his greatness. I have some of his records. But I am far from a hardcore fan like you, or like my old friend from the newsroom.)
Posted by Jeff at 8:22 AM