Trying To Get To You

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bootleg Friday: Southside Johnny & Little Steven, 1993

I’ve been a Southside Johnny fan for a long time. He’s a true believer in the power of soul music and despite his never “making it” to even close to the degree of a certain friend of his named Bruce has, he’s persevered, continuing to release albums and putting himself on the line with every performance. His first three albums are all excellent, and Hearts of Stone, his 1978 album produced by Little Steven when he was still known as Miami Steve Van Zandt, is a masterpiece, fusing the hard rock of the Rolling Stones with the soul of Stax.

One of my favorite live music moments was at a Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes show in 1995 at the Stone Pony. It was a Saturday night show and the Pony was packed – a homecoming show for a band that, by that point in time, knew that it would never achieve it’s original dream, but played as though none of that mattered. All there was was a Saturday night and an audience to slay. The band and Southside kicked ass, and during “The Fever,” I was next to the stage singing along (with the exact phrasing that Southside was doing, cause I’m a dork), and Southside saw me, locked eyes with me and then he stuck his microphone in my face and demanded, “Sing it to me my brother!” I did as told. My friend Michael looked at me in astonishment and then almost died laughing.

Today’s edition of Bootleg Friday features a few songs from a Southside Johnny radio performance that he did with Little Steven in 1993. It was a benefit performance for Hungerthon, and to raise money, the band (Southside, Little Steven, Bobby Bandiera, David Haynes and violinist Soozie Tyrell) took requests over the phone, which resulted in a great set of covers, from artists like Neil Young, Van Morrison, Springsteen, Chuck Berry and more. But the most hilarious and unlikely song here is, Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” which somehow works. Listening to the show you can hear the commitment of a singer who’s always been in the moment, even if big success ultimately eluded him.

Download: "Broke Down Piece Of Man" (Sam & Dave) 11/21/93
Download: "Little Queenie" (Chuck Berry) 11/21/93
Download: "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (Hank Williams) 11/21/93
Download: "Like A Virgin" (Madonna) 11/21/93
Download: "I Don't Want To Go Home" 11/21/93

Download Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Amazon

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey
good to have you back - I've missed you!

Ben Lazar said...

Nice to BE back!

Fusion 45 said...

Thanks for Like A Virgin...that was fun. I remember "Lyin' In A Bed of Fire" from when it first came out; haven't heard it in a long time. Did you dig that record?

dbf65 said...

thanks for this

Do you have the rest of that? I think they did an amazing version of Princess of Little Italy that night.

hippodrome music dispatch said...

"I Don't Want To Go Home", "The Time It's For Real", "Hearts Of Stone" and , to a lesser extent, "Better Days" were fantastic albums. I feel like what derailed SSJ was his work with Billy Rush. When Bruce exploded with "Born In the USA", SSJ was making bad albums and was way in the background... so much so that the next logical "hot act" from Jersey was John Eddie.

Ben Lazar said...

"Lyin In A Bed Of Fire" is from the first Little Steven album, Men Without Women. I like that album a whole lot. Some great songs on it.

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