You may also like…
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes’ – Messin’ With The Blues
Southside Johnny Lyon’s first studio release in nearly a decade is a roaring return to form, as well as one of the bluesiest albums in his catalog. Produced by E Street Band bassist and Lyon’s friend Garry Tallent (the two share a record collection as well as New Jersey roots), the disc boasts a professional but far-from-slick sound that perfectly captures this rollicking, bar band, horn-driven music.
Lyon’s voice has toughened over the years, which infuses it with a more ragged tone, adding to the overall sturdiness of the disc’s sound. Lyon’s terrific harp playing, which has frustratingly stayed on the back burner in the past, bursts out here with authority and conviction. His lip-shredding harmonica on “Sinful” won’t put him in a league with Little Walter, but he’s sure in the same ballpark.
Although about half of the tracks are covers (from Tom Waits, Memphis Slim, and Percy Mayfield, among others), Lyon’s co-written originals are some of his best and certainly most bluesy. There’s still a taste of the raucous “Havin’ a Party” style he’s best known for in “Tell ‘Em I’m Broke,” but the Jukes — both old and new members contribute — effectively shift gears into John Lee Hooker-styled boogie (“Kill My Love”) and earthy zydeco (Eddie Shuler’s “Come Home Little Girl” and the accordion-driven, locomotive tempo of “Looks Like Rain”), as well as creeping, Dr. John-influenced swamp rock gris-gris (“Satan’s Shoes”).
A phenomenal comeback, Messin’ With the Blues fulfils the promise of the Jukes’ early recordings and establishes Southside Johnny as a creative and gifted bluesman whose party-animal days are behind him.
1. Gin Soaked Boy
2. Living With The Blues
3. Rhumba And Coke
5. Messin’ Around With The Blues
6. Tell ‘Em I’m Broke
7. Satan’s Shoes
9. Cadillac Jack
10. Looks Like Rain
11. River’s Invitation
12. Come Home Little Girl
13. Mother Earth
14. Kill My Love