Dion is one of the best singers in the world of music. The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer released a very special album, Blues With Friends, on 5th June 2020. The title already tells everything about the record: Dion produced a blues album – for each track, he paired up with other musicians. Thus, on this album, you are not only listening to the artist himself, but also to Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Van Morrison, Paul Simon or Bruce Springsteen. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
Dion – About The Artist
Dion Francis DiMucci was born on 18th July 1939 in the Bronx, New York City. Coming from an Italian-American family, his father brought him into country music, but also into blues and doo-wop. He had his first regional hit with The Chosen Few, which has – due to the backing vocals – been sold under Dion and the Timberlanes in 1957. In that period, he also paired up with a band called The Belmonts and released songs as Dion and the Belmonts. In late 1960, he also started to pursue a solo career. His solo album debut was Runaround Sue, which made it up to the 11th spot in the Billboard Charts. The title track topped the US Hot 100 and made it to the eleventh spot of the UK single charts. He was very productive in his early years, releasing four albums in 1963 only. The sales decreased and so did the frequency of his releases.
Overall, Dion has released 31 solo studio albums. He has been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 and also got a few Grammy nominees – not only for country / blues albums, but also for gospel, which he performed in the 1980’s as well.
Dion – Blues With Friends – Track by Track
The 14 track album lasts 60 minutes.
1. Blues Comin’ On (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
Dion gathered some really big names of the music business for this album – and for the first track of the album, Blues Comin’ On, he partnered with one of the very, very big names: Joe Bonamassa. This simply needs to become a great collaboration. And, yeah, the song is a blast!
2. Kickin’ Child (feat. Joe Menza)
The second track alongside Joe Menza has a quite classic blues sound. Cool groove and rhythm. Reminds me a lot of my last year’s visit to Memphis and the Delta Blues area. Love it!
3. Uptown Number 7 (feat. Brian Setzer)
Uptown Number 7 – if you have sufficient talent, you can finally write great songs about every topic. Also ones inspired by tram lines. Brian Setzer adds quite some rock elements to this track.
4. Can’t Start Over Again (feat. Jeff Beck)
This one is rather a slow and ballad-alike one. Apart from the missing raspy voice, I feel this could have been a perfect Joe Cocker track. Intense – just close your eyes and enjoy, especially during the guitar solo.
5. My Baby Loves To Boogie (feat. John Hammond)
This track alongside legendary John P. Hammond gives very classic blues sound – if you like the genre, this song will be a treat for you. By the way, the longest track on the album (5:19 minutes).
6. I Got Nothin’ (feat. Van Morrison, Joe Louis Walker)
Even if you are not in the blues and feel it is boring, this amazing rotation of music stars leads to so much alternation in the album, I really enjoy and am curious how the next collaboration will sound like and work out. Cool voice again, great sound, that’s blues!
7. Stumbling Blues (feat. Jimmy Vivino)
The Stumbling Blues alongside Jimmy Vivino gives some new sounds by having some brass in the tunes. I love the voice in this one as well. Nice!
8. Bam Bang Boom (feat. Billy Gibbons)
Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top – there are just so many interesting acts. The bearded celebrity adds some slight touch of rock, but this album simply belongs to the blues.
9. I Got The Cure (feat. Sonny Landreth)
Would love to have that one live on stage. I Got The Cure just got so much power and presence, I feel this one must just be great.
10. Song For Sam Cooke (Here In America) (feat. Paul Simon)
A track commemorating legendary Sam Cooke – and another legend is joining Dion for this one: so great to have Paul Simon as part of this superstar collection. Definitely one of the best tracks on the album, even though it slightly moves away from straight blues sound.
11. What If I Told You (feat. Samantha Fish)
Most of Dion’s “friends” are also people who are in the music business for quite a while. The 1989 born Samantha Fish adds a touch of youth to the album. Cool track, very rhythmic and rocking.
12. Told You Once In August (feat. John Hammond, Rory Block)
The twelth track is rather slow. Not my kind of blues sound, I have to admit – but John Hammond and Rory Block give quite some flavor – especially Block, who is joining the vocals quite frequently.
13. Way Down (I Won’t Cry No More) (feat. Stevie Van Zandt)
A cool track, which even has some radio potential in mainstream stations. The only track shorter than three minutes.
14. Hymn To Him (feat. Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen)
The album finishes with Bruce Springsteen – and he bring his E Street Band’s guitarist and wife with him. Lovely combo, close to the perfect finish of this album.
Dion – Blues With Friends – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget for Blues With Friends:
Dion – Blues With Friends – My View
What a lineup of stars, what a high quality of blues music. The album was right on the route to the Top Pick! rankings, but finally, I have to say that too many songs are similar. If you are a blues fan, you will love that album definitely and give it a higher rating than I do. It deserves a good one in my point of view, but is not necessarily a must-buy for everyone.