Dion’s Tank Full of Blues (CD Review)

With Tank Full of Blues (2012), Dion completes a trilogy of outstanding blues albums along with Bronx in Blue (2006) and Son of Skip James (2007). While Bronx in Blues focused on covering traditional blues standards from Robert Johnson and others, and Son of Skip James followed that formula with a few more originals, in Tank Full of Blues Dion wrote or co-wrote all but two of the songs, taking his blues to another level. The new album adds more percussion and electric guitar into the mix without overdoing it on these new classics. Here is the title track:

Dion worked to build his blues cred with the previous two albums, paying homage to the kings with a little bit of Bronx street swagger thrown in. I have previously written about the two earlier CDs and how when Bronx in Blues came out it was a great discovery for me. On Tank Full of Blues, though, Dion uses his blues credibility to show a little more of his own wings, as Dion’s originals on this album transition smoothly next to ones by Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Just as the album makes you wonder what else Dion can do, he closes with a spoken word rap on “Bronx Poem.” While he is not a hip-hop artist, one might root for him to try a rap album next as he shows here that his rhyming skills and bravado dating back to “Runaround Sue” are still there.

Dion Dimucci is one of the great rock n’ rollers, and these albums have shown he is also a great blues man. These albums are not an artist’s self-absorbed dabbling in another genre, but music that has the great Dion’s heart. As AllMusic wrote about Tank Full of Blues, “it is the album he’s been waiting an entire career to make.” For the artist behind such hits as “I Wonder Why,” “The Wanderer,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Donna the Prima Donna,” and “Abraham, Martin, and John,” that is high praise. Check out this great album by a music legend.

{In the above video, Dion plays “I Read It (in the Rolling Stone)” off the album during a Blues Cruise in January.}

What do you think of Dion’s blues? Should he write a new song called “Runaround Blues”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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