Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dion--Ruby Baby (1963)

     I have always thought that Dion has been on of the most unappreciated artists in rock and roll history. Part of this has been caused due to an overall negative view of musicians who broke through in a big way in the early 60's. However the quality of the music was usually head and shoulders above most pop groups of that day. With the Belmonts, he started out singing Italian-American doo-wop, then on going solo he went into more of a pop mode with definite  blues leanings (as you can hear on "Ruby Baby").
     A heroin habit that he had been fostering since his teen years began to get the best of him. He kicked it once and for all in the late 60's, and began singing more folk oriented songs. This was best heard on his album, "Dion" in 1968 and the single, "Abraham, Martin and John", written by Dick Holler and became his last top 10 hit.
     Since then he has meandered through folk, Christian music, and now headlong into the blues over the last decade. In fact, he was nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for Best Traditional Blues album for, "Bronx in Blue". No matter what direction he has taken his music, he has always been consistently good. There are obviously albums that are better than others, but I've never heard a bad album in the bunch. At the age of 72, he continues to record great music. If you have not heard of him, check out his early material first as many have been influenced by his pop material. Those who had forgotten about him, need to check out his output of the last 20 years. In fact...I'll give you all a bit of a bonus and add one of his later songs.


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