Guest Star Guitarist’s A’Plenty …… But This is Very Much the Singers’ Album.
Before his re-emergence onto the scene a couple of years ago I’m not sure what, if anything I thought of Dion DiMucci. If his name cropped up I knew he had been a Pop Star in the 60’s; but that would have been it.
But; his 2020 album BLUES WITH FRIENDS changed all that …… what a voice the man has!
Following on from that groundbreaking album; Joe Bonamassa, whose label both albums are released on; has assembled another group of legendary; and occasionally up and coming guitarists to pair with Dion and create a seamless bunch of disparate Blues tunes that will Rock your Soul.
The party gets started with Bonamassa adding his signature guitar parts to a smouldering song; Take It Back, that Dion adds a certain ‘oomph’ that shouldn’t be possible at his age!
The scene is then set for an hour or so of Rocking and Rolling magic.
I don’t have enough time to describe every single one of the 14 tracks here; yet it’s also unfair to leave any out ….. which is a dilemma.
To some degree I should be able to ignore If You Want to Rock & Roll which features Eric Clapton, Dancing Girl which has the inimitable Mark Knopfler in full flow and the Sonny Landreth track Cryin’ Shame, as you should just presume you know what to expect; but trust me you don’t ….. all three pull out all of the stops; yet are still overshadowed by the singer and the way he ‘owns’ each individual song.
While I’d not heard of a couple of acts here that accompany Dion; the pairings are actually quite sublime; Joe Menza is a new name to me; but his liquid gold guitar skills really do compliment the singer on the desperately emotional The Night is Young; and it’s a similar story when G.E Smith adds some electrifying edgy touches to Hey Diddle Diddle earlier.
Even with some of the greatest guitarists of my generation taking part, there are still surprises around every corner …… Peter Frampton gives it his best Peter Green impression on the sultry There Was a Time and when Billy Gibbons introduces the singer Dion on the title track The Stomping Ground, it’s fair to say that the result is a musical marriage made in Heaven!
Speaking of surprises; who knew that Springsteen could still mine a new seam; yet that’s what happens on the smoky Folky/Blues hybrid Angel in The Alleyways where Patti Scialfa very nearly steals the show.
For a Favourite Track I’ve deliberately gone for something less obvious; even though most of what’s gone before would deserve the accolade ….. I’ve narrowed it down to three songs that really were eyeopeners for me; I’ve Got To Get To You feat. Boz Scaggs, Joe Menza & Mike Menza is the most Rock & Roll song here; adding shades of Chuck Berry to the mix when you least expected it; then there’s the only cover song here’ Hendrix’s Red House which pairs Dion with Keb Mo and not for the first or last time had me pining for for a whole album in that style.
But; and this hasn’t been easy, plus I’m likely to change my mind tomorrow; but I’m plumping for That’s What the Doctor Said; a reverential and funky-ass ode to Dr. John featuring Steve Conn that grooves and swings like the Great Man at his very, very best and you are going to love it when you hear it.
Obviously the inclusion of all of the Guest Star guitarist’s names on the cover isn’t by accident; but please don’t be under any illusions …… this is very much the Singers’ album and full of songs that will stick with you for a long time to come.
Released November 19th 2021
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