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Bronx in Blue
Artist: Dion
Label: Blue Label
Length: 15 tracks / 55 mins
 
According to Bruce Springsteen Dion is "the true link between Sinatra and rock 'n' roll" and this acoustic blues delight bears that out well.
 
He grew up in the Bronx, started playing a Gibson acoustic that his uncle gave him when he was ten years old, took guitar lessons from Reverend Gary Davis and by an aggressive mix of the country and blues that he sought out on southern all-night radio stations helped to create rock 'n' roll.
 
While this disc is surprisingly his first solid blues album, he claims that this is the music that has underpinned everything he has done so far.
 
The Italian-American is of a similar age and background to Larry Norman, who grew up white in a black neighbourhood and also adopted blues as his native musical language. Just as Norman's music exhales his blues roots, Dion's vocal phrasing here is instinctive as can only come from someone whose knowledge of the genre was absorbed by osmosis.
 
The last few years have seen consistent critical approval and this CD is already rightly Grammy-nominated.
 
Recorded in just two days, featuring only his voice, acoustic guitar and occasional discreet percussion, this disc is an impeccable rendition of blues, featuring classics like "Statesboro' Blues,"  " Walkin' Blues," and "How Many More Years?" 
 
It has always grated with Dion that he has not been noted for his guitar playing. Here he showcases his ability with a superb performance, shiny sound and a variety that brings out the best of each song.
 
"So I let My Baby Do That" struts cheekily, "Who Do You Love?" stomps , while "Crossroads" has a gravitas worthy of its status in the canon (and the lyrics get a redemptive Christian twist). 
 
The disc ends with a bonus, remodelled version of "The Wanderer" and even that feels good! Excellent stuff.
 
Derek Walker  4/1/2007


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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