Regular visitors to this blog know the name of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame’s resident expert on patristics. It’s Dion — once of the Belmonts, singer of many number-one hits, starting in 1957, when he was seventeen years old. He’s the voice on “Teenager in Love,” “I Wonder Why,” “The Wanderer,” “Ruby, Ruby,” and “Abraham, Martin and John.” He’s one of only two pop artists depicted on the cover of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The New York Times cast him as a reader of Augustine and even noted his connection to Yours Truly. His musical tribute to St. Jerome, The Thunderer, is available for download on Amazon. And, if you don’t own it by now … well, what are you waiting for?
Today’s mail brought Dion’s new album, which is a further foray in patristics — guitar patristics, that is. It’s called Heroes: Giants of Early Guitar Rock, and it’s a tribute to Dion’s favorite axemen from the 1950s and 1960s. Some names are familiar. Some will be new to all but the true aficionados — because in the days before Jimmy Page, the lead guitarist was another of the unknown backup band behind Elvis, Del Shannon, and Johnny Cash. Dion himself is an outstanding guitarist, but was told “Lead singers don’t play guitar.” Now he’s at a place where he can do both if he wants, and he does them with his inimitable style.
The songs are well chosen, an ultimate party mix: “Summertime Blues,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Runaway,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “I Walk The Line,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Dream Baby,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and even Dion’s own “The Wanderer.” It’s all done with the Bronx attitude that’s won a half-century of loyalty from the listening public.
With all that good stuff comes a bonus DVD of Dion sharing memories of his guitar heroes. As they say on Amazon: Buy it now!