Dion: The Wanderer Peturns
Dion DiMucci’s unique voice and streetwise attitude has defined rock and roll for every generation since the 50s, yet due to a combination of artistic compromises and drug addiction, it looked like his career could be over by the mid-60s. Jonathan Wingate charts the rise, fall and resurrection of the original King Of The New York Streets
His drug days are now a long way off in the rear view mirror – Dion usually rises at the decidedly un-rock’n’roll hour of 7am these days. But although he has called Fort Lauderdale, Florida his home for many years now, from the moment he answers the telephone, you are in no doubt whatsoever that this man still has the street hustle of New York’s Bronx running through his veins.
“Yo!” he yelps as he picks up the receiver, sounding uncannily like a mobster from The Sopranos. He has been a devout Christian for longer than your correspondent has been alive, yet although he is now entering his late 60s, Dion still sounds like the coolest man in the world.
His last studio set came out seven years ago, so you could be forgiven for thinking that Dion DiMucci was slowing down. But on the back of the release of his Grammy-nominated Bronx In Blue, a superb album of blues and country songs by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson, he is positively fizzing with energy for the music that started him off on his long and winding musical journey.
“The music on Bronx In Blue was the undercurrent of every song I did,” Dion beams. “Runaround Sue, The Wanderer… even the foot-stomping on Ruby Baby I got from John Lee Hooker’s Walkin’ …
by Jonathan Wingate
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