A visit to Southside

My old pal Doug is a hardcore Springsteen fan. He’s traveled all over the Midwest to see Springsteen. Less so these days, but he’s paid his dues.

Yet for all these years, it’s been tough to hang with Doug when he’s deep into Springsteen. To be honest, I’m not really much of a Springsteen fan.

But we long ago came together and agreed on another member of the extended Springsteen family, another group from the Jersey shore.

The sound of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes was distinctive in 1977 and remains so today. It’s inspired by ’50s R&B and driven by a big horn section.

My favorite Southside album then and now is “This Time It’s For Real,” from 1977. These cuts are from that album. They’re written by Little Steven Van Zandt and some guy named Springsteen.

Guess I like a big sound — dig the majestic horns on “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town” and that out-of-nowhere jungle intro to “When You Dance” — more than a spare sound.

ssthistimeforrealcd.jpg

“Love On The Wrong Side Of Town,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, from “This Time It’s For Real,” 1977.

“When You Dance,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, from “This Time It’s For Real,” 1977.

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5 Comments

Filed under May 2007, Sounds

5 responses to “A visit to Southside

  1. jb

    My introduction to SSJ and the Jukes came in college—I’d never heard of them before then. A friend of mine used to plug his bass into his stereo and play along with “Trapped Again” from 1978′s “Hearts of Stone”—one of the greatest singles never to make the Hot 100, and one of the ass-kickingest records I’ve ever heard.

  2. I love the Boss, but I do enjoy Southside Johnny as well. For some reason, I hadn’t thought about him and his pals for a while. Thanks for reminding me, and keep on rockin’!

  3. Southside is the real deal and I’ve loved him from the way-back. Matter of fact, my blog was named after a Southside track! His was my very first music entry:
    http://gotthefever.blogspot.com/2006/08/southside-johnny.html

    Fantastic choice, my friend!

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  5. Nicely written piece! It reminded me on the days when I got into Southside. Actually, he was on for me even some years before the boss. It took me until 1982 to get Born to Run, while Southside and the Jukes were playing in my backyard already 1979. Big stuff for a, then, fourteen year old kid in Germany…

    As for big sound: check out Southside’s latest: “Grapefruit Moon – The Songs of Tom Waits”. It’s more than big – while completely different. It’s 21 piece big band sound, courtesy of Richie LaBamba Rosenberg… and still it’s the South.

    Nothing beats the Jukes – but it’s a magnificent album which makes Count Basie, Frank Sinatra AND Tom Waits proud of it!

    Keep your blog up… it’s an excellent read!

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