Sunday, 3 June 2018
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes - New Jersey Box Set
This is an excellent box set from legendary New Jersey band Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. It contains three studio albums - “Going To Jukesville”; “Into The Harbour” and “Messin’ With The Blues”.
The first two are the band’s usual New Jersey horn-driven rhythm and blues, but the third, from 2000, sees them returning to their blues roots to produce an excellent album of copper-bottomed blues songs such as “Gin Soaked Boy”, “Living With The Blues” and the excellent “Cadillac Jack”. Produced by bassist Garry Tallent from Bruce Springsteen’s E St. Band, it is a proper blues album full of harmonica, bass and Southside’s "gargled in gin and axle grease" voice.
2002’s “Road To Jukesville” is the better of the other two, being more “Asbury Park-ish”, more saxophone and upbeat tunes. Highlights are the wonderful, atmospheric, rocking “Passion Street”, the similar “Baby Don’t Lie”, another evocative one in “Lost In The Night”, and Southside’s glorious soulful voice on “Gladly Go Blind” and “No Easy Way Down”. These are all genuine Southside classics. All the album is of a high standard.
2005’s “Into The Harbour” has a great title track, the rocking “Dancing On The Edge Of The World”, a storming cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Happy” and the album’s highlight, the beautiful soulful Latin groove of “When Rita Leaves”.
MESSIN' WITH THE BLUES (2000) B-
ROAD TO JUKESVILLE (2002) B-
INTO THE HARBOUR (2005) C+