The Friday Morning Listen: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – The Jukes (1979)

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Big musical weekend in these parts. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will be visiting the New Hampshire seacoast and me & TheWife™ are more than ready. It’s sort of an odd time of year for this as the tradition has been for Southside to close out the summer season over at Hampton Beach. But hey, we’ll take what we can get. Maybe this will be the start of a new tradition, giving those timid hints of spring a good kick in the pants by way of Asbury Park.

It’s kind of interesting to see the evolution of a band like this and our relationship to them. I first saw Southside Johnny way back during my college days in the early 1980s. I was a huge fan and was absolute stunned to see the announcement flyer for the Jukes show at the University of Maine. After graduation, the yearly end of summer ritual commenced, with Southside and a huge roomful of fans giving the warm season a boozy, soul-drenched sendoff. A few decades on now, the music is still there, and is still important. Some might dismiss our love for it as pure nostalgia, though my view is that if something is built to last, then that alone is good enough.

And speaking of built to last, we will be attending the show with a very special friend. I’ve known Gene since before that first Southside show, which we attended together. I will never forget being pressed up against the front row barricade in that crazed sardine-can crush of sweaty Jukes fans. Yep, that is perhaps pure nostalgia. Me & Gene have kept in close contact all of these years. Now that he and his family have moved back into our area, it seems that we have another thing to celebrate.

What am I expecting for the show, aside from an affirmation of friendship via music? OK, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I did some e-groveling yesterday. See, way back in the day, our favorite Southside record was not Hearts Of Stone. No, it was The Jukes. We pretty much wore out multiple copies of that thing. And for some reason, we latched onto the song “I Remember Last Night.” There are breaks of silence in that song that enhance the explosion of the chorus, which takes off with “The door flew open…” Oh, the grovel? After I reviewed Southside’s gorgeous Tom Waits tribute Grapefruit Moon, I received a nice email from him. At first I thought it might be a prank, but those words “How dare you say all those nice things about me?!” pretty much confirmed the email’s origin. Now, I try very hard to never use an artist’s email for anything outside of writing issues. It feels like a break in trust. But I just couldn’t help myself: I sent Southside an email, requesting “I Remember Last Night” for Saturday. The reply was pure Southside John Lyon:

I will TRY to remember ” I Remember…” , but us old folks have trouble with that shit. See you there.
Southside.

Us old folks, eh? Heh. Fair enough. Yeah, see you there!

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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