Before the Boss and his E Street Band came to define the patented sound of a certain Jersey Shore metropolis, therein ruled one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest rhythm and bar bands: Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. As I was witness: woe to any ensemble that followed Messrs. Lyon, Little Steven, and the mighty Miami Horns in concert.
Akin to the manner in which the British Invasion bands reminded and re-educated us Yanks of our storied musical history – The Jukes avidly turned my generation on to Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, and The Ronettes to cite a very few. With his no frills Fender Jazz, founding bassist Alan Berger was flawless; soulfully swinging the massive, and oft maniacal Jukes akin to the Basie, Miller, and Dorsey Big Bands of my parents’ era.
Yet Berger and his mates also piled their craft with the rock ‘n’ roll fervor of the Rolling Stones and The Animals – thereby augmenting the incessantly majestic cannon of rock ‘n’ roll.
Dig Alan’s performance on “Trapped Again” – harmonically straightforward and uncompromisingly funky – it still knocks me out every time I hear it! The Jukes first three releases: I Don’t Want to Go Home (1976), This Time It’s For Real (1977), and Hearts of Stone (1978) are among the most lasting and finest albums of their era and genre.
Though they never enjoyed the commercial success they so richly deserved, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes were a tremendous influence on blue collar rockers far beyond the hallowed stage of the sanctified Stone Pony!