Dion and the Belmonts- classic or dud?

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Great songs. Classic.

Chris 'The Velvet Bingo' V (Chris V), Friday, 21 May 2004 12:02 (sixteen years ago) link

Dion was a fantastic blue-eyed soul singer -- his vox could be as rauchy and wild as any rockabilly -- but possibly thanx to his herion habit he loses the plot rather quickly, straining himself and cracking his voice even in established hits like "Donna, the Prima Donna." On the other hand, he should also get points for "Daddy, Rollin' in Your Arms," which is the voyeuristic pathos of rock junkie disintergration years before There's A Riot Goin' On or Sister Lovers.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Friday, 21 May 2004 12:34 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
i have his 1968 album with Abraham, Martin, and John, as well as a dylan cover and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy", but I've never listened to it.....is it good? tell me before I play it.

kyle (akmonday), Saturday, 12 November 2005 17:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Is it the version w/"Daddy Rollin'" on it? If so, at least hit that track.

General Doinel (Charles McCain), Saturday, 12 November 2005 18:56 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

"daddy rollin" is just on the CD I think.

longtime fan of the album. i'm just discovering that my favorite track is his version of "loving you is sweeter than ever" which I think it's actually the best version of that song period. i'm into the "purple haze" cover as well...

also search "suite for late summer" album

matinee, Sunday, 12 July 2009 18:00 (ten years ago) link

also it's got a super cover

https://www.psychprog.com/img/imag21334.jpg

matinee, Sunday, 12 July 2009 18:02 (ten years ago) link

possibly my favourite act of all time, up there with dexys and psb. mostly for his early stuff, he did a cpl of interesting tracks with spector but the likes of 'runaround sue' and 'i wonder why' are just untouchable. a few years ago i spent ages hunting out everything i could by him, here are the one i loved:

Lonely Teenager (2:14)
Love Came To Me (2:41)
Lovers Who Wander (2:22)
Ruby Baby (2:40)
Runaround Sue (2:44)
Sandy (2:20)
Take Good Care Of My Baby (2:27)
The Majestic (2:40)
The Wanderer (2:48)
(I Was) Born To Cry (2:26)
A Teenager In Love (2:38)
Come On Little Angel (2:54)
Donna The Prima Donna (2:55)
I Wonder Why (2:21)
Little Diane (2:42)

later period:
Born To Be With You (6:50)
In And Out Of The Shadows (4:18)
Your Own Back Yard (3:50)

am i missing any other gems from his back catalogue? has there ever been a good book written about him, or an autobiography by him?

NI, Sunday, 12 July 2009 20:31 (ten years ago) link

I'm a bit of a Dion fanatic, so I go pretty deep into his discog. However, I would say you need the second half of this compilation, espcially the tracks "Troubled Mind," "Spoonful" and "Two Ton Feather." This stuff is Dion feeling inspired by Highway 61 Revisited -- doo-wop meets hard blues meets garage rock.

QuantumNoise, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:04 (ten years ago) link

i pretty much love it all. group, solo, all of it.

scott seward, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:07 (ten years ago) link

it's funny, when i was a little kid two of my favorite songs were the wanderer and daddy rollin'. i just happened to have the 45s - must have bought them at yard sales - and i played them both constantly. two sides of the dion coin.

scott seward, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:10 (ten years ago) link

brilliant, thank you QN.

also trying to find some smart discussion about him, there are a few articles on rocksbackpages that im gonna sign up and read, but does anyone know of any more? im thinking stuff like the freakytrigger/poptimist pieces about dexys, or salon articles, if there's anything like that around

NI, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:11 (ten years ago) link

The Road I'm On is a good comp too. came out after Bronx Blues. some of the same stuff, but some different stuff too. two discs.

scott seward, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:19 (ten years ago) link

ah great i'll hunt for that too. not on p2p so i'll wait til i have £££ and get the mp3s off amazon.

speaking of amazon, what seems to be Dion's autobiography 'Wanderer: Dion's Story' is selling for £50 for a used paperback, and £100 for a new hardback! shocked that hasn't had more interest - only one review on US amazon - it came out in 1989, was he at his lowest ebb then? (us amazon is selling a used copy for $20 so i'll grab one of those eventually)

NI, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:38 (ten years ago) link

semes he was also involved in this weird book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chapters-Writing-Story-Your-Life/dp/1558745874/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247434418&sr=1-1

NI, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:39 (ten years ago) link

i have a signed copy of his autobiography!

scott seward, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:50 (ten years ago) link

is it any cop?

NI, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:56 (ten years ago) link

any good you mean?

matinee, Monday, 13 July 2009 06:00 (ten years ago) link

Huh, I thought I posted on this thread earlier. I love Dion. Pretty much all of it solo or otherwise.

ENBB, Monday, 13 July 2009 06:02 (ten years ago) link

dion once complimented his wife in an interview by saying she has a 'high tolerance for unacceptable behaviour'. amazing.

the heart is a lonely hamster (schlump), Monday, 13 July 2009 12:55 (ten years ago) link

looks like he's a bit of a nutjob: http://www.diondimucci.com/journey.html

hope his book has more about his pre-68 badass days than the born again zzz

NI, Sunday, 19 July 2009 14:39 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

I just heard Your Own Back Yard for the first time ever. What a great tune. I loved his old stuff already, but this is as amazing as the old stuff.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Wednesday, 19 August 2009 11:45 (ten years ago) link

My Girl, the Month of May

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXWVUQersVE

Best thing ever.

harveyw, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 12:38 (ten years ago) link

Absolute genius

J4mi3 H4rl3y (Snowballing), Wednesday, 19 August 2009 13:07 (ten years ago) link

The song "Now", from the 1969 album "Wonder Where I'm Bound" is a real gem. Tom Wilson production, kind of Simon & Garfunkley folk rock. One of my favourite songs ever.

Brio, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 15:49 (ten years ago) link

What's with that picture of Robert Johnson et al. in his living room?

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 19 August 2009 15:53 (ten years ago) link

http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/song/Now/21311475

Brio, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 15:58 (ten years ago) link

Looks like he painted that picture of Robert Johnson himself.

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 19 August 2009 16:06 (ten years ago) link

I just heard Your Own Back Yard for the first time ever. What a great tune. I loved his old stuff already, but this is as amazing as the old stuff.

that whole album is fantastic

go Nick go! Scrub that paint! Scrub it!! Yeah!! (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 19 August 2009 17:00 (ten years ago) link

Okay, I forget cause I only have that one song: is taht King Of The Streets, right? I should give it a try. The song is just so bloody great. Absolutely love it. Makes me want to cry and smile at the same time.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Tuesday, 1 September 2009 11:47 (ten years ago) link

three months pass...

^^^album is "Born to Be With You" (prod by Phil Spector)

larry craig memorial gloryhole (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 22 December 2009 22:52 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

Kinda went on a binge this morning; have a couple questions/thoughts:

1) Actually my wife noticed this first: In songs like "I Was Born To Cry" (probably his most blatant blues song with the Belmonts) and "Little Diane" and even to some extent "Runaround Sue," Dion goes into what sounds like some distinctly Middle-Eastern wailing. Curious where that comes from. Obviously it could just be coincidental, or he could have picked it up directly from the source, but I'm guessing it maybe comes via some kind of traditional Italian singing I don't know much about -- Middle Eastern and Mediterranean musics frequently seem to cross sonic boundaries, and on the live '72 Madison Square Garden reunion album the horns in "Little Diane" sound as much like Spanish music as jazz. Or maybe he picked it up from jazz, I don't know.

2) On that version of "Little Diane" on the '72 live album, again, Dion goes into a scat part that sounds a lot like Cab Calloway. So I'm guessing that must have been one big influence, too. (In fact, in general, "I Was Born To Cry" included, I'd say his "blues" influence is what I'd call "show blues" -- stuff he probably heard in movies.)

3) On the back of the Belmonts' 72 studio reunion album without Dion, Cigars Acapella Candy, who are the other three guys standing in the bodega with the Belmonts on the back cover? Could be their instrumentalists, I guess, except this album sounds way closer to actual acapella than the hits (or that MSG reunion) did -- stomping feet instead of drums, little or no piano, maybe an occasional tambourine or kazoo or something at most. Really cool btw how, in the middle of their cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," they turn it back into the Chiffons' "He's So Fine." (Also wondering if the non-Dion Belmonts had day jobs by then, or got together occasionally to sing through the late '60s; guess I need to track down a biography.)

4) There's a sign being held up inside the gatefold of that MSG album saying "Brooklyn Loves the Belmonts," and one disc of Dion's King Of the New York Streets CD box set is called "Brooklyn Dodger," after his solo song from 1978, "(I Used To Be A) Brooklyn Dodger." And they definitely seem more Dodgers than Yankees to me. But they obviously came from the Bronx, which makes me think they were conflicted, somehow.

5) Most blatantly Catholic Dion song? I'm picking "The Truth Will Set You Free" (solo from 1980), but maybe I missed one that's more so.

xhuxk, Thursday, 18 February 2010 17:07 (ten years ago) link

Also, I get that Dion probably also learned about the blues through Hank Williams, through blues bands he saw live, and through earlier black doo-wop itself, and that he became a big Robert Johnson fan at some point. I'm just saying his blues incorporations sound to me more like Hollywood (or urban nightclub) blues than, say, rawer Delta Blues. (Not that that's a value judgement, or that those are unrelated, obviously. Thinking Jackie Wilson might fit in here somewhere, too.)

xhuxk, Thursday, 18 February 2010 17:24 (ten years ago) link

re: Dion's Middle-Eastern influence: watched "Dion In Concert" on Netflix last night and he said that he picked up that singing style from passing by the synagogue in his neighborhood. Dion had open ears.

Fox Force Five Punchline (sexyDancer), Thursday, 18 February 2010 20:37 (ten years ago) link

That's fascinating. Dude really was a sponge.

QuantumNoise, Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:08 (ten years ago) link

he's still alive, no need to refer to him in the past tense fwiw

Wrinkles, I'll see you on the other side (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:10 (ten years ago) link

He likes to roam around.

Fox Force Five Punchline (sexyDancer), Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:35 (ten years ago) link

Well, when he walks past a club playing a little dubstep and starts incorating it into his modern jams then I'll consider him a sponge in the present tense. But from the pop acoustic blues albums I've heard over the last couple years, he no longer has that thirst to soak up all kinds of different sounds and styles. I love the guy, but he's taking it easy in Florida these days.

QuantumNoise, Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:38 (ten years ago) link

That synogogue story is amazing. Thanks, sexydancer! Adding that disc to my Netflix queue now...

xhuxk, Thursday, 18 February 2010 21:50 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

was gonna post the youtube for "my girl the month of may" but someone already did that upthread. amazing song.

buzza, Monday, 16 August 2010 06:52 (nine years ago) link

two years pass...

The song "Now", from the 1969 album "Wonder Where I'm Bound" is a real gem. Tom Wilson production, kind of Simon & Garfunkley folk rock. One of my favourite songs ever.

― Brio

ya, otm!

buzza, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 08:36 (seven years ago) link

Sounds promising. Will have to check that out.

The Teardrop ILXplodes (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 January 2013 14:54 (seven years ago) link

Haven't even got to that song yet, but the album itself is pretty awesome so far. So apparently this was just stuff the label sat on for two years and than put together in an odds and sods album after "Abraham, Martin and John" was a hit.

The Teardrop ILXplodes (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:08 (seven years ago) link

He changed his website! I don't know where the big painting of Robert Johnson went.

The Teardrop ILXplodes (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:15 (seven years ago) link

I like how his version of "Seventh Son" ends up sounding something like "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat"

The Teardrop ILXplodes (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:20 (seven years ago) link

Time for new screenname. Never knew he was such a Hank Williams fan when he was a lad.

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:40 (seven years ago) link

A long time ago, I used "I Wonder Why" in an art-splatter student film.

clemenza, Thursday, 24 January 2013 16:29 (seven years ago) link

Wow. In his recent memoir, an excerpt of which appears on his web page, he claims that he, and not Tommy Allsup was the key figure in the famous coin toss to decide who would fly on the ill-fated plane that went down The Day The Music Died. Upom hearing about this Tommy immediately demanded a polygraph test and threatened to sue.

Leopard Skin POLL-Box Hat (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 25 January 2013 03:38 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

Just relistened to and enjoyed Wonder Where I'm Bound and now moved on to Heroes: Giants of Early Guitar Rock, an album of covers of well-known rock and rockabilly songs, which might seem a dubious prospect, but the vocals are convincing and he's backed by a nice little rhythm section along with an unknown rockabilly ringer on guitar a la Dave Edmunds or Chris Spedding by the name of Bobby "Crow" Richardson who apparently passed away last year.

(Don't Go Blecch To) Reddville (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 04:01 (four years ago) link

Here is a playlist he created called NY Is My Home: https://open.spotify.com/user/diondimucci/playlist/20vADENchke4pZwducmtjB

(Don't Go Blecch To) Reddville (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 04:12 (four years ago) link

Named after a song he did with Paul Simon which I suppose I should listen to.

(Don't Go Blecch To) Reddville (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 04:14 (four years ago) link

Intrigued by the fact that he made an album called Son of Skip James

All The Squares Go Pwn (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 17:51 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

Named after a song he did with Paul Simon which I suppose I should listen to

And now another one
https://americansongwriter.com/dion-premieres-new-song-with-paul-simon/

Ernani and the Professor (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 29 May 2020 19:01 (one month ago) link

The one with Van Morrison is pretty good too. Duet album called Blues With Friends which is trickling out track by track, week by week.

Ernani and the Professor (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 30 May 2020 13:41 (one month ago) link

So this whole thing sounds pretty good. Hesitate to be the one recommending a blues-based star-turn duet record, but I came here for the voice, which does not disappoint.

Jeff Sunship (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 11 June 2020 14:50 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Oh man ... this guy. Just started listening to everything by him I can get a hold of. I was familiar with the oldies radio standbys but he is mindblowingly Classic pretty much across the board, eh? Just great.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:04 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he seems to be in the class of singer that can sing anything and make it his own. He has some weird personality quirks that take some getting used to, mainly a Robbie Robertson-like tendency to take too much credit - “I told Tom Wilson to overdub electric guitars on a Dylan song and invented folk rock!,” “It was actually me who gave up my seat on the crop duster to Buddy Holly after the Winter Dance Party!” - but none of that seems to creep into his music in any deleterious way.

Barry "Fatha" Hines (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:18 (two weeks ago) link

Also, feel like I always heard much more about Bobby Darin’s folk rock move than Dion’s but seem to be more drawn to the latter now that I know it exists.

Barry "Fatha" Hines (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:22 (two weeks ago) link

Here is an article about that which I haven’t read properly yet but seems of interest: https://web.musicaficionado.com/main/article/was_folk_rock_a_mistake_for_dion_and_bobby_darin_by_jimallen

Barry "Fatha" Hines (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:23 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks for the link! Latest MOJO has a big piece/new interview with him as well.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:40 (two weeks ago) link


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