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Blues - Released June 5, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Bruce Springsteen summed up Dion DiMucci perfectly: the link between Frank Sinatra and rock'n'roll. From the 50s and 60s with the Belmonts - the true Rolls of doo-wop - to his solo career, the singer from the Bronx has always been inseparable from New York, and his 2016 album, the aptly named New York Is My Home, reminded us of that. The Big Apple, yes, but also the blues, a genre he has often approached in a very personal way. Blues is at the heart of Blues With Friends, another apt title. And oh what friends! The Boss and his wife Patti Scialfa, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon, Billy Gibbons, Brian Setzer, Van Morrison, Joe Louis Walker, Joe Bonamassa, John Hammond, Sonny Landreth, Rory Block, Stevie Van Zandt... It's hard to put together a more impressive list. It’s also proof that Dion's aura is still intact after 80 years... "I wanted an album of songs that were strong and memorable and told stories that were worth telling. Blues has been at the heart of my music since the early 1960s. I was covering Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed in my early years at Columbia—much to the dismay of my corporate masters—and my own ‘The Wanderer’ is a twelve-bar blues song." Despite the eclectic guest cast, Dion stays true to himself throughout this 2020 vintage, released by Keeping The Blues Alive Records, Bonamassa's label, and it's his sidemen who are more in tune with his vision. The years have slightly tinged his magical voice, which now goes even better with blues, a genre to be handled with care, as Bob Dylan writes in the record’s cover notes. It’s a blues that’s never disconnected from everyday life, like Song for Sam Cooke (Here in America), a powerful duet with Paul Simon about segregation in the southern states in the early 60's, which takes on even greater meaning as America catches fire with the release of this elegant Blues With Friends. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz Notes for Blues with Friends by Bob Dylan: With a Vaudevillian Father and the Doo-wop street corners of the Bronx as teachers, Dion learned early on that the way to be heard and reach hearts was to sing in his own rhythmic voice. And when you have a voice as deep and wide as Dion’s, that voice can take you all the way around the world and then all the way back home to the blues. You have to be careful with the blues. They’re strong with lust and you can overpay for them, but they quote the law. It’s a shame more people don’t follow that law. Guy Mitchell sang that he never felt more like singing the blues and we know what he meant. It is an honor for honor’s sake. Dion knows how to sing and he knows just the right way to craft these songs, these blues songs. He’s got some friends here to help him out, some true luminaries. But in the end it’s Dion by himself alone, and that masterful voice of his that will keep you returning to share these blues songs with him. – Bob Dylan
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 12, 2016 | Instant Records

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Blues - Released May 1, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Rock - Released October 2, 2012 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

This two-disc set, which collects all of the singles, both A and B sides, that Dion released as a solo artist during his two stays at Laurie Records, does a good job of showing Dion's own restless instincts as a singer and musician, instincts that have served him well during his five-decade career, and his supplementary willingness to listen to his record label's wishes at the same time, a balancing act that gave Dion three distinct commercial phases on the pop charts from the late '50s through the end of the 1960s. He began as the lead voice for the Bronx Italian street corner doo wop group the Belmonts, producing hits for Laurie Records like "I Wonder Why" (none of Dion's Belmonts-era singles are included here) before going solo in 1960, the point where this collection picks up the story. His solo work for Laurie cast him as a teen idol, and he scored hits with the likes of "Lonely Teenager," "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer," and "Little Diane" before leaving the label to sign with Columbia Records late in 1962. His hits with Columbia ("Ruby Baby" and "Donna the Prima Donna") continued in the teen idol vein, but by the time Dion returned to Laurie Records for a second go-round in 1968, his sound and style had changed into a kind of pop-oriented folk-rock, which gave him a Top Five hit that same year with "Abraham, Martin and John," and led to interesting near-misses with his covers of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Fred Neil's "The Dolphins," and a barely recognizable version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Amazingly, the two distinct phases of his time with Laurie Records as a solo artist have never been released side by side like this before, so this set from Real Gone Music fills a huge hole. Everything is in mono, the way the singles were mixed and originally appeared. If there is even one small complaint about this collection, it would have to be that room couldn't be found for Dion's singles with the Belmonts. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Ace Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Rock - Released September 30, 2008 | Time-Life Music

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Pop - Released May 12, 2017 | Columbia - Legacy

The first thing most everybody who hears Dion’s Kickin’ Child is going to say, is that producer Tom Wilson made Dion sound like Bob Dylan. It's fair but inaccurate. If anything, Dion got Wilson -- in late 1964 -- to propose the electric sound to Dylan (who'd worshipped Dion from the '50s) in the first place. Dion convinced the producer to take some of the songwriter's session tapes and give them an electric treatment. He did so with live musicians, then played the results for Bob. In January 1965, Dylan cut the electric side of Bringing It All Back Home. Oddly enough, the title track opener that sounds the most like his Bob-ness wasn't produced by Wilson but by Bob Mersey (who’d helmed the sessions that gave Dion the hit "Ruby Baby"). Backed by the Wanderers (and Al Kooper's organ), Dion cut this set in three sessions between the spring and fall of 1965. What’s here is complete and properly sequenced for the first time. Why? Columbia refused to release the album at the time, prompting Dion to leave the label. They issued some singles, and other tracks appeared on various compilations, but this is complete. This is Dion-the-Bronx-street-song-poet transformed by intuitive musicality and discipline into a refined singer/songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote all but four of these 15 tunes. He seamlessly blends folk and jangly rock guitars (Tom Paxton's "Wondering Where I’m Bound" and "Tomorrow Won’t Bring the Rain"); the blues (the title track); swaggering rock & roll (Dylan's "Baby, I’m in the Mood for You"), and Mort Shuman's "All I Want to Do Is Live My Life"), and pre-psychedelia ("Now," one of a pair co-written with the Wanderers' drummer Carlo Mastrangelo), and recasts it all in his own image. Check "Knowing I Won’t Go Back There" and "You Move Me Babe," where the seasoned doo wop crooner meets folk-rock head on, only to enfold both styles into himself holistically. Dylan's "It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue" and "Farewell" will never sound the same given the rippling, soulful beauty in his delivery. Wilson and Dion were made for each other. It’s too bad Columbia didn’t see it that way at the time -- history might have been different. This record would still be gathering dust if it weren't for stubborn rock & roll archivists Miriam Linna and Billy Miller, who doggedly pursued Sony to find the album in the label's vaults so they could release it on their Norton label. Sadly, Miller didn’t live to see it, but his final will and testament is presented here as he intended, with completely remastered sound. Kickin’ Child not only ranks with Dion’s best (standing between career highlights "Runaround Sue" and "Abraham Martin and John"), but it's absolutely one of the greatest folk-rock records ever. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 5, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Blues - Released May 15, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Rock - Released September 2, 1961 | TNA records

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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Ace Records

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Pop/Rock - Released January 29, 1991 | Legacy - Columbia

After many hit singles with the Belmonts, Dion went solo and became one of the first rock & roll stars signed to the Columbia label. Although he was only with the label for four years, Dion recorded some of his most adventurous music during this period. Bronx Blues: The Columbia Recordings chronicles this phase in his career, and is the best single-disc compilation of his mid-'60s work. The first singles released were similar in style to the Belmont's recordings ("Donna the Prima Donna") and demonstrated his continued love for doo wop as he covers older songs such as the Drifters' "Ruby Baby," which peaked at number two. While the first half of this album is strong, the second half is truly revelatory; it shows Dion, who had just been exposed to the music of Robert Johnson, infusing the bravado of his streetwise persona into the blues. The results don't always work (he doesn't have the deep, powerful voice required to sing Willie Dixon's "Spoonful"), but the results are magic when he hits the mark. The best example is his own "Two Ton Feather," a song that's not pure blues, but blues interpreted by a newly converted fan of the genre. In that respect, it's not surprising that his style is similar to Bob Dylan's. In fact, the highlight of the album, and perhaps Dion's best recording ever, is his previously unreleased version of Dylan's "Baby, I'm in the Mood for You" in which he brings out all the snarl and attitude of the tune. While these years are often considered a transition period for Dion, this compilation is essential in showcasing his songwriting talents and restless spirit. © Vik Iyengar /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Zonophone

Featuring his Top Five comeback single "Abraham, Martin and John," this folk-rock and blues-flavored effort remains Dion's most fully realized album. In addition to the impressive anti-war original "He Looks a Lot Like Me," it contains mature interpretations, arranged both acoustically and with strings, of songs by Fred Neil, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Lightnin' Hopkins. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Blues - Released April 24, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Pop/Rock - Released February 14, 1997 | Columbia - Legacy

Dion's mid-'60s Columbia period was a strange and rather mysterious one. After notching up some solid hits that were more or less in his early '60s rock style ("Ruby Baby," "Donna the Prima Donna"), he dove into blues, folk, and folk-rock with varying degrees of success. Although the results were usually pretty interesting, commercially he seemed to have disappeared (a situation not helped by either his heroin problems or the failure of some of the material to get released). This is a good, if imperfect, two-CD overview of the Columbia years, moving from the expected early hits to quite a few tasty surprises, including covers of Woody Guthrie, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon, "Work Song" (penned by Nat Adderley and Oscar Brown), Tom Paxton, and Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." There are also a number of pretty fair self-penned originals in a folk-rock, slightly Dylanish style, unsurprising considering that Dion was recording with one-time Dylan producer Tom Wilson in late '65. It doesn't make a 100% convincing argument that Dion would have matured into a top-rank blues-folk-rocker if not for his drug problems, but it has integrity, and the material is usually well-sung, whether pop or not. About half a dozen of the tracks were previously unreleased; there are also a couple of new recordings from 1996. This does not, by the way, make the 1991 Bronx Blues: The Columbia Recordings CD (much of it drawn from the same era) redundant. Almost half of the tracks from that disc don't appear, the most serious omission being the cover of Dylan's "Baby, I'm in the Mood for You," which was probably Dion's best mid-'60s recording of all. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | The Right Stuff

Dion as a solo artist was initially a kind of hybrid performer, known for his teen idol image but trying for a harder and also a more advanced sound, as revealed on this album. The hits included here, "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer," and "The Majestic," are so familiar that they tend to eclipse the rest of this 14 song album -- all of the rest, however, is well-sung, -played, and -arranged, ranging from basic hard rock & roll ("Kansas City") to smooth teen pop, which always keeps at least one foot up to the ankle in rock & roll (hence the electric guitar solo on "Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight"). "Little Star" has rated inclusion on several key collections, while "Lonely World" is perhaps the lost single off of this album, with a great beat, killer hooks, and a beautifully shaped performance by the singer and his backup vocalists. What's more, even the covers of familiar material such as "Dream Lover" and "In the Still of the Night" are performed in a style unique to Dion and are worth hearing and owning. The singer was still straddling the gap between teen idol and serious rock & roller, and between late-'50s doo wop and a harder early-'60s sound, although the more serious love songs and the surprisingly articulate guitar solo on "Kansas City" clearly showed that he was winning the musical battle for his own distinct sound. It wasn't a long jump from the repertory here to his distinctive covers of R&B classics like "Ruby Baby." © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Zonophone

Featuring his Top Five comeback single "Abraham, Martin and John," this folk-rock and blues-flavored effort remains Dion's most fully realized album. In addition to the impressive anti-war original "He Looks a Lot Like Me," it contains mature interpretations, arranged both acoustically and with strings, of songs by Fred Neil, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Lightnin' Hopkins. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Blues - Released May 29, 2020 | KTBA Records

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Rock - Released September 29, 2008 | Time-Life Music

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