Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie has proclaimed Dion's Born To Be With You" to be one of the greatest records ever made, Spiritualized's "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space" album was made in its shadow and James Walsh from Starsailor recently took over a whole page of the NME to explain why Dion DiMucci's 70s recordings show him as the "greatest singer that ever lived" It is this music and more that is captured in "Dion: 70s". "
By the late 60s Dion was an artist enjoying an artistic rebirth. He had scored big rock'n'roll hits a decade earlier, with and without the Belmonts, on such classics as Runaround Sue and The Wanderer. A move to Columbia, despite some early hits had not gone quite the way that the label had expected, when Dion proved himself to be no Bobby Darin clone crooner-.-being a far grittier character with a few personal problems. Nonetheless he discovered blues, and became a regular on the Greenwich Village folk scene. He made a sensational set of masters, probably being the first artist to electrify a Dylan song. Some of these cuts made it out on 45, but most languished in the vaults.
At around the time he was ridding himself of his addictions Laurie Records released Abraham, Martin and John which became a Top 5 single. Dion signed to Warner Brothers in the first half of the 70s. He opened his account with a stone classic, Your Own Back Yard, a look back on his descent into and ascent out of addiction. It's a wonderous collaboration between Dion, his accoustic guitar and the Dixie Flyers that is probably the greatest drug song ever, and one of the best of any kind.
Dion recorded four albums that mix a troubador-like spirit with some fantastic songs, all setting off Dion's awe-inspiring voice. The music ranges from the simply acoustic numbers such as Sanctuary, through carefully arranged ballads like It All Fits Together through to the good time revivalism of Doctor Rock and Roll. Then came what should have been the dream collaboration: Dion and Phil Spector.
The Born To Be With You" sessions were an unhappy experience for Dion, that never resulted in a finished album (the final product had its time made up by the inclusion of two earlier singles. Spector was an old friend of Dion's but totally out of control. That said, where it reached up high it truly soared, as on the title track and the wonderful Only You Know. One final album "Streetheart" was a more homely affair where a mature Dion reflects upon growing up.
This is very special music, by a true rock'n'roll great.