Thursday, 5 February 2009

Occasional Bootleg Series No. 4 - Dion

Dion - The Saturday Sequence, BBC Radio One, 30 September 1989

Track listing: Intro - Written On The Subway Wall - I've Got To Get To You - Chat 1 - The Wanderer - Intro to pt 2 - King Of The New York Streets - Chat 2 - Drip Drop - Chat 3 - I Wonder Why - End of pt 2 - Intro to pt 3 - And The Night Stood Still - Ruby Baby - Runaround Sue - Outro

Musicians: Terry Harr - sax/keyboards/backing vocals, Paul Harris - keyboards/backing vocals, Johnny Sambararo - guitar/backing vocals, Gay Bailes - bass/backing vocals, Larry Hurt - drums

Recorded for the BBC's Saturday Sequence, the piece was hosted by Roger Scott, who'd joined BBC Radio 1 the previous year after an illustrious decade on Capitol Radio. Sadly, within a month of recording this Dion programme, Scott died of cancer, aged just 46. Obviously a big fan of Dion, Scott interviews him with a real fan's enthusiasm, genuinely happy to be in the company of one of his heroes. Dion was in the country promoting the recently released Yo Frankie album, complete with his crack band. He's in great spirits throughout the set, both when he's singing and during the chats. He describes doo-wop as " a poor man's horn section" saying they had to sing the sax parts because they couldn't afford instruments.

From the new album we get Written On The Subway Wall, And The Night Stood Still and the marvellous King Of The New York Streets. Dion's best work always had a New York street-corner hoodlum swagger, and after years of folkie shit, Yo Frankie saw the Wanderer return to that glorious sound. The band here lay down a solid beat and give these new numbers a great feel. Dion devotes I've Got To Get To You to Roger, but in fairness it's my least favourite on the show.

The Wanderer is relentless, a classy stroller with a great sax solo. Perhaps my favourite Dion song, Drip Drop comes with jangling guitar instead of backing vocals, giving it a busker feel. It's all street corner music I suppose. It's fascinating to here him describe how the introduction to I Wonder Why came about, with Carlo of the Belmonts mimicking King Curtis' sax. The version here is closer to the 50's than anything else on the set. Dion sounds brilliant and the band have their "dun, dun,s" down to a tee. When is this bloke coming back to the UK, the thought of him working with a band like the Metrotones gets me dribbling. Ruby Baby is given a semi-modern reading while Runaround Sue stays true to the original and is very nice indeed.

They talked about a potentially mouth-watering tour that was hoped to hit the UK featuring Dion, Dave Edmunds, Stray Cats and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Request - could someone rearrange that for this year please? Sound quality as you'd expect from a BBC product is first class and I'd recommend digging out a copy for both it's historical importance and because the music is great. The more stuff like this that surfaces the better. Bring me more.

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