As the title suggests, this nicely-packaged double-disc set finds New Jersey’s foremost purveyors of barroom blues playing live in Newcastle. The show, recorded at The Opera House, dates from 2002 and finds Johnny and his excellent band playing to an enthusiastic audience. They mix tried and true Jukes classics such I Don’t Want To Go Home and Bruce Springsteen’s Hearts Of Stone with sympathetic covers of less familiar material, such as a rousing version of Tom Waits’ great Gin Soaked Boy.
The band is as accomplished as ever and Johnny’s voice, if a little rougher than it used to be, more than makes up for any aging in passion and feeling. All in all, From Southside To Tyneside… is a nice record of what sounds like a good night out. The evocative sleeve is a bonus, and the “track-by-track synopsis” by Johnny himself is welcome, even though it oddly misses out half of the songs on the album and includes many that aren’t. Still, overall a worthwhile album for fans and doubters alike.