Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Who Dunnit? (An Occasional Series): The Jersey Shore

Okay -- IMHO, this is one of the best (and least pretentious) straight ahead unhyphenated rock songs of the last fifteen years. Just two guitars, bass and drums, and the best damn singer you ever heard.




The band was a short lived supergroup of sorts (with the lead singer unbilled), and if you had been really lucky you might have stumbled into a dive bar around Asbury Park in the late 90s and heard them playing.

No Googling -- but a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded to the first reader who correctly identifies the vocalist without having previously heard the story.

17 comments:

Crusader AXE versus the carnivorous, dwarf ducks said...

Bruuucccceee! Except it's not...Southside Johnny!

Peter said...

Big Al Anderson? Randy Bachman?

MBowen said...

Is it someone not known for singing - i.e., a well-known guitarist (or writer)?

I hear a little Fogerty, a little Westerberg, a little Big Al Anderson, but it's none of them.

J. Loslo said...

On the little bitty speakers on my laptop, it sounds kind of like Dion.

steve simels said...

J.Loslo has it.

The group was called the The Little Kings, and it featured Dion on guitar, vocals and songwriting, along with Scott Kemper from the Del Lords and Mike Mesaros, the bass player from the Smithereens.

They never made a studio album, although there was a live album in England that's really good, and this track showed up on "The Road I'm On," a really great 2CD career retrospective Sony put out in '96.

mister muleboy said...

Steve --- SO TELL US ALREADY!


Sorry; my impatience peeked out. . . .


[sheepish look down]

This is just a killer song. No bombast, but some pop kick in addition to rock roots.

TMink said...

Dion? Wow. The things I learn.

Trey

J. Loslo said...

I wonder why they didn't make a studio album.

I've got a couple of the sixties monster hits, but I really know Dion through Bronx in Blue, which is a great set of straight ahead acoustic blues. Good guitar player, too.

steve simels said...

Bronx in Blue is fantastic.

And some of the unreleased at the time blues stuff Dion did (for John Hammond) in the mid 60s is mindblowing. He does a "Spoonful" that's better than anything of its type out of England from the same period...

rap said...

Dion remixed it, supposedly to place the vocals more up front.

The original version that Scott Kempner produced is allegedly rockier.

Make of that what you will.

steve simels said...

The live version is actually tougher, if memory serves. Although I can't seem to find it on my computer...

Brooklyn Girl said...

I love Dion. Always have.

Dave said...

Dion has to be one of the finest and most versatile singers in the history of rock. How many singers have produced terrific records in all these genres: pop; rock; folk; blues; gospel; and doowop?

His gospel records are impressive, featuring some of his strongest singing. And another thing I love about Dion -- even when he was born again and singing gospel, his lyrics were still open-hearted.

edward said...

My first rock-n-roll concert was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention Overnight sensation tour and the opening act was Dion.

He got booed alot by the audience, but kept his cool and pointed out "Hey, I was invited here."

And some of his stuff with the Belmonts holds up pretty well

rurritable said...

Edward: Everyone who opened for Zappa got booed. Tom Waits described it as being "a rectal thermometer".

TMink said...

I saw some three letter southern rock band open up for the B52's. I think the other band's name was PKM, and they were formed from the ashes of Molly Hatchet.

What brilliant mind thought up that combo? They were booed from the moment they showed their long hair to the 1979 Chapel Hill crowd.

Trey

rurritable said...

Tmink: Did you ever see the X-Teens?