Y'know, record companies get a bad rap a hell of a lot, and deservedly so 98% of the time. So, before we launch into the accolades this disc deserves, let's give a round of applause to the brave folk at Razor & Tie for rescuing this originally limited release from obscurity.
Everyone from MOJO, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, No Depression, The New York Times and now FAME agree that this is one you've got to own. Dion, with his guitar and voice that hasn't lessened in age but gained from the years, along with minimalist rhythm accompaniment by Bob Guertin, delivers fourteen enthusiastic and gripping performances.
Pick a song, any song. Dion's takes on Robert Johnson's long haunted Walkin' Blues, Travelin' Riverside Blues and Terraplane Blues humbles Clapton's millionaire impersonations. Though he makes Crossroads his own, no one's ever going to blow away Johnson's original or Cream's fire-breathing version. Howling Wolf's Built For Comfort provides mucho swagger, as does the train-kept-a-rollin' take on Bo Diddley's perennial Who Do You Love and Jimmy Reed's Baby What You Want Me To Do. Statesboro Blues, owned by The Allman Brothers, gets a gritty read. And if I Let My Baby Do That sends you looking through your blues collection for its author, look no further. It's a Dion original fitting snugly into the grand whole.
Many will justifiably compare Bronx in Blue to other bare bone masterpieces by Johnny Cash (The American Recordings), and recent revivals by Kris Kristofferson (This Old Road) and Neil Diamond (12 Songs). But the added hew here is how Dion, a boy from The Bronx, makes the blues blue, whether you're from the bayou, Brooklyn, Brussels or Biloxi.
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