Monday, 7 January 2019

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes - This Time It's For Real (1977)


Released in 1977

This is the second in the three classic Steve Van Zandt/Bruce Springsteen-influenced albums  from Southside Johnny and his magnificent brass-dominated backing group, The Asbury Jukes. Despite being recently remastered, it still suffers from a very muddy sound, particularly on the drums, and the remastering has not really corrected this, unfortunately. There is still some good material on the album.


1. This Time It's For Real
2. Without Love
3. Check Mr. Popeye
4. First Night
5. She Got Me Where She Wants Me
6. Some Things Just Don't Change
7. Little Girl So Fine
8. I Ain't Got The Fever No More
9. Love On The Wrong Side Of Town
10. When You Dance                                          

The title track is a rousing piece of horn-driven rock/soul and kicks the album off superbly. The cover of Aretha Franklin's "Without Love" is supremely soulful with Southside's voice on top form. "Check Mr. Popeye" is, unfortunately, a bit silly. Van Zandt's "First Night" is a doo-wop-style tearjerking ballad with excellent vocal harmonies from guest vocalist The Satins. "She Got Me Where She Wants Me" is a bluesy mid-paced rocker, with a soul vocal, while "Some Things Just Don't Change" seems a bit messy in places, but is crammed full of soul and killer horn parts.

"Little Girl So Fine" evokes The Drifters beautifully (not surprising as they are on backing vocals) and has simply a sublime brass backing. Southside's voice is peerless on this too. My favourite track on the album. Van Zandt's bluesy "I Ain't Got The Fever No More" is an answer to Springsteen's "The Fever" from the debut album. Springsteen co-wrote the final two tracks - the uplifting "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town" and the slightly underwhelming, but impressively punchy "When You Dance". This is a good album, but personally, I prefer the first and third of this excellent trio from the late seventies.


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