He has been a legend for decades and shows no sign of letting up. There’s real drive here.
Time: 10 tracks / 39 minutes
There are very few singers who have been around as long as Dion Dimucci, who is well into his 70s, and still been so critically revered. Tom Waits is a bit younger, but the nearest artist I can think of.
Yet again, Dion has come up with something impressive – and more rounded than his recent blues-only releases.
New York is my Home is more playful than of late, as he caricatures himself as a bad boy in the twelve bar blues of “Can’t Go Back to Memphis” (with its acoustic ragtime coda); has fun remembering a Big Al Sears show in “The Apollo King;” and revisits his original style in “I’m All Rocked Up.”
By contrast, he lets his emotions surface in the title track, a very fine duet with Paul Simon. (The cynical side of me wonders whether this is part of Simon’s PR activity for his new disc, but whatever the reason, it is a charmingly heartfelt song, and a different sort of duet for both of them). He is clearly passionate and earnest about his music and dreams in “Visionary Heart.”
Dion does produce some pure blues on a comfortable, languidly paced re-working of Lightning Hopkins’ “Katie Mae.”
While his roots are clearly in rock and roll and blues, every track sounds quite unlike the others, and “Gangster of Love” flows with a more fluid ‘70’s vibe.
Unusually, there is nothing showing directly about his faith, but his strong statements from recent albums are still ringing.
But more typically, the guitar sound – in fact the whole sound – is spot-on for this release, right from the energising scene setter “Aces up your Sleeve,” There are a few guitarists on this disc, so it is hard to know which is him, but the tone is always clear and bright. There are also plenty of licks, solos and fills high up in the mix.
In every track, he sounds like he is a natural; not just going through the motions, but still passionate about making new music.