Friday, October 27, 2006

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – I Don’t Want To Go Home / This Time It’s For Real

The mid-to-late 70’s was an incredibly prolific time for an incredibly diverse amount of music! There were still left-over glam people, the beginnings of punk, hard-rock die-hards and a growing white r’n’b scene (among others!). From the more pub-rock stylings of Dr. Feelgood, the Pirates and the Rumour, to this 50’s/60’s soul/r’n’b combo, the Asbury Jukes, led by Southside Johnny.

These first two albums are real classics, with great songs – oddly enough, mostly written by “Little” Stevie Van Zandt, then of Bruce Springsteen’s band. Bruce even contributed a couple of numbers here and there. But, these songs sound nothing like the E Street Band! These are truly soulful tunes and many of them still give me chills after all these years!

The first album opens with the title track, a mid-tempo saga of a man drowning his sorrow at the local bar and refusing to heed the last call because there’s nothing left for him at home. Who couldn’t relate to this at one point or another? Super horns by the Miami Horns, also, who really add a lot of flavor to the records.

Most of the album seems to dwell on the after-effects of a break-up, from “Got to Get You Off of My Mind”, “How Come You Treat My So Bad” (which adds a funny Bo Diddley/Jerome styled “conversation” about Southside stealing another man’s woman), “Broke Down Piece of Man” to the exquisite “The Fever”. The latter follows Southside as he relates how he can’t sleep or eat or keep his mind on anything since his woman left him. He reminisces about the things they did and then practically howls in desperation “oh baby you’re my sun in the morning and my moon at night”. Man, how many times has your heart been wretched like that? The song literally sounds like a break-up!

There are a couple lighter spots on the record, such as “Fanny Mae” and the cover of “It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Motion”, and then it closes with the fabulous, upbeat “You Mean So Much To Me” with a fantastic guest appearance by Ronnie Spector! What a closer!

This Time It’s For Real practically leaps out of the speakers at you from the get-go! You can almost see people jumping up and dancing from the first note of this party tune! This is definitely a good-time, hopeful record!

Lots of cool songs on this disc – “Without Love” about how good it is to be in love, because “without love, you’re not really you”. “First Night” is a 50’s-styled ballad, “She Got Me Where She Want Me” is very 60’s soul, and then there’s “I Ain’t Got the Fever No More” – an answer to the first album’s soul-crushing tune. Not as heart-felt as the original song, but a nice response – telling the girl that he’s over it all and she doesn’t have a hold on him any longer!

This record’s closer is “When You Dance” – and if this one doesn’t get ya moving, then you’re in a coma!

Great band, great songs, great records – definitely pick these up for the times you want to revel in your break-up misery and then when you are ready to celebrate your survival and re-join the party!

Check out this fan site and Johnny's site for more info


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