Southside Johnny and the Ashbury Jukes- Heart of Stone

If my calculations are correct, this is post #900.  Wish I put a better album out for the event. Well not so much better but one that I liked more.  Don’t get me wrong, it is just there are two categories for New Jersey rock and roll musicians: Springsteen and not Springsteen.  Well,  I got this for the deep Springsteen ties.  It was only $2.

Johnny Lyons, known as Southside Johnny, was born in Neptune in 1948.  He rose out of the Jersey Shore scene that produced The Boss.  Although they have continued to make appearances and put out records, the groups most prolific period was the 70’s, where they released three albums which were met with some level of critical success.  According to Wikipedia, the band did a whole lot of consulting work on various movies.

This record was the groups third, released by Epic in 1978.  As like its predecessors, it was produced by E Street member and future Soprano, Steven Van Zant.  The title track is a cover of a Springsteen number. The rest of the tracks are either written or co-written by Van Zant, who also plays guitar on the album.  He is joined by another E Streeter and ex-Conan bandleader, Max Weinberg.

Pretty decent album all together and it got a very good critical response. One critic called it the best album Bruce Springsteen never recorded, but that may be a bit unfair.  At the heart of if (no pun intended), it is what I imagine, a pretty good representation of Jersey rock.  It also is a good show of the vast array of influences on Van Zant,  “Talk To Me” was the single off this effort. Incidentally, Johnny injured his hand after recording and could not tour in support if this album.  As a result sales were below expectations and the band and Epic parted ways.  Van Zant would also move on to a more full time role with Springsteen.

For a sample, I went with “This Time Baby’s Gone For Good”.

Decent enough record.  Satisfactory.

Eddie and the Cruisers- OST

DSCN1890This was $3.00.  I got excited about it when I bought it but the excitement has waned considerably.2240986,e037NFsh+Krq06U7tnE3LMvUmnWzIKMK6lhhB+S0g9uMHY6n9UFdx_F1sfhwcUnP_6c6uuIOt37+Um3E6fWHFg==

Eddie and the Cruisers, released in 1983, is a Citizen Kane type search for the lost tapes from a band from New Jersey.  Tom Berenger, aka  “Wordman”, the band’s keyboardist, searches for the tapes thru flashback and conversations with past members.  It is pretty obvious that the band is modeled after Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band, especially since they are from Jersey and have a horn player.fullwidth.a02208f3

IMDB Entry

Michael Pare, who played Eddie, was a chef in a New York restaurant when he was discovered for this role. He was elated to work on this film as it was his first.  Ellen Barkin, on the other hand, was not.

Despite the huge expectations, this movie did not do well at the box office. Critics also hated it.  It would gain an audience on HBO and become a sort of a cult classic.  Looking back, HBO did play the crap out of it back then, but does that really mean it was good? (Oddly enough, HBO also played the Hell out of Pare’s Streets of Fire.) I watched it the other day and I felt it was corny.  It should also be noted that that was how they made movies back then.  Either way, it gained enough popularity to produce a sequel in 1989.

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My favorite line from the movie is as follows:

Eddie Wilson: I want something great! I want something that nobody’s ever done before!

Sal Amato: Why? We ain’t great. We’re just some guys from Jersey.

As far as the music, it is okay.  It is kind of fifties style being played in what I can only guess are the 60’s and the 70’s.  The movie was not as coherent with the timeline.  Anyway, the music was done by Beaver Brown Band featuring John Cafferty on vocals and guitar. The saxophone player in the movie, Michael “Tunes” Antunes was an actual member of this band.

DSCN1891This was originally going to be played on July 4th as I felt there was an Americana sense to this, but it got shuffled back a few weeks.  As a sample, I was stuck between “On the Dark Side” and “Tender Years”. “Dark Side”, oddly enough, was a Top Ten hit in 1984.maxresdefault (3)

Meh.  Streets of Fire is better.