Dion DiMucci has had a front row seat to pop culture over the course of his mighty career starting way back in 1957 in New York City, doing street corner Doo Wop with his band The Belmonts. He went solo in the 60’s and was riding high on the charts before the British Invasion tsunami turned American music on its head. There were huge hits like “Runaround Sue”, “The Wanderer”, and “Ruby Baby”, and the memorable hit in the late 60’s, “Abraham Martin and John”, which marked the maturation of this former teen idol. At the base of all was Dion’s abiding love for the great American music forms, including Blues, Country, and R&B.
Through the years, Dion has continued to make music, with a brand new album just arriving on WMOT’s doorstep. Dion's Blues With Friends finds him pairing with icons like Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon, Billy Gibbons, Van Morrison, Sonny Landreth, Samantha Fish, Joe Bonamassa, John Hammond, Rory Block, and Brian Setzer, all of whom are fans. This is a spirited collection of originally penned Dion tunes, twelve of them written in recent times and then finished with Mike Aquilina, and two others, “Hymn To Him” with Bill Tuohy and “Kickin’ Child “with Buddy Lucas. Dion is in fine voice and the tracks cook with world class accompaniment on Blues With Friends, from the sweet autobiographical “Song for Sam Cooke (Here In America)”, to the gently rocking “Bam Bang Boom” to the scorching “Blues Comin’ On.” SXSW described him as “Rock’s Enduring Voice” in a 2016 Keynote address, and we take a moment to savor the new effort from this R&R Hall of Fame member.
Jessie Scott is WMOT's program director, host of weekday afternoons and WMOT's Wired In series.