In the early seventies New Jersey’s music scene was dominated primarily by two great bands: Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Southside Johnny had a diverse sound that passed easily from effervescent R&B to boogie rock, to tender heartbreaking ballads. Every gig was an event and the audience would stay until the wee hours to bear witness. The sheer charisma and energy of their live act was vaguely reminiscent of a 1950’s big band.
The recording on this CD is from 1978 and features Southside Johnny in top form playing Boston’s famous Paradise Theater in 1978. The horn section is the real momentum behind the band, which amazingly is able to replicate its full-bodied studio sound. The tracks are written mainly by Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt, but also include covers by Sam Cook and Leiber & Stoller, like “Having A Party,” “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” and the standard “Stagger Lee.” There are many similarities between Southside Johnny and the E-Street Band, but SJ has energy to spare and this live recording is precious testimony.
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