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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Southside Johnny And The Jukes - 1984 In The Heat
Southside Johnny And The Jukes - 1984 In The Heat

ARTIST: Southside Johnny And The Jukes
ALBUM: In The Heat
LABEL: Mirage
SERIAL: 90186-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2015, Unidisc, B009C64IUG


LINEUP: Southside Johnny - vocals * Billy Rush - guitar, synthesizer * Gene Boccia - bass * Steve Becker - drums * Rusty Cloud - keyboards * Kevin Kavanaugh - keyboards * Bobby Farrell - trombone * Mark Pender - trumpet * Frank Elmo - saxophone * Robbie Kilgore - synthesizer

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love Goes To War * 02 New Romeo * 03 Love Is The Drug * 04 Captured * 05 I Can't Live Without Love * 06 Over My Head * 07 Don't Look Back * 08 Tell Me Lies * 09 Action Speaks Louder Than Words * 10 New Coat Of Paint

There are certain artists who've never tickled my fancy, no matter how hard I try, including such disparate artists as Rush, Dokken, The Rolling Stones or even Peter Gabriel era Genesis. On a far lesser scale is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes. Their barroom style of New Jersey/Springsteen influenced rock and roll has always left me cold and uninterested. The band was formed in 1975 and have had some distinct periods in its history, including its early years with Steven Van Zandt, who went on to join Springsteen of course. The band never really broke through, despite 6 albums between 1976 and 1980 and were dropped by both Epic and Mercury. The band signed to Mirage and in a desperate move removed 'Asbury' from their moniker and became simply 'The Jukes.' 1983's 'Trash It Up' was produced by Nile Rogers and was an instant flop, nobody buying into their radical departure from rock to pop. But to their credit 1984's 'In The Heat' was a solid AOR offering and probably the only album of theirs worth listening to more than once. The band was essentially run by guitarist Billy Rush at this point, being the sole writer for the band and giving Johnny a good platform to sing some excellent melodic rock, far removed from the bands recent past.

The Songs
This is definitely a product of 1984, with obvious high-tech arrangements dominating the album and synthesizers all over the place. 'Love Goes To War' is a strong opener, with some powerful vocals from Johnny and a superb guitar solo blending in well with a plethora of activity in the background. 'New Romeo' is upbeat AOR, driven by horns and ubiquitous female backing vocals, ready-made chart fodder that would have been a hit in the hands of someone like Billy Joel. 'Love Is The Drug' is nothing to do with Roxy Music, but a fine track in its own right, well-crafted high tech AOR, with some blatant synth parps competing with the overkill of horn activity. 'Captured' attempts a sultry, undercover lover vibe and pulls it off, this one veering off towards new wave almost, very dramatic in execution. The keyboard use during 'I Can't Live Without Love' is glorious, hinting at John Parr, minus the guitar, closer to a band like The Power Station. 'Don't Look Back' is a Smokey Robinson cover and one that sounds out of place although it's given a perfunctory AOR makeover. 'Over My Head' is another by the numbers AOR track, but the chorus stands out, giving it some repeat value. 'Tell Me Lies' is the heaviest track, the band showing some steel in the riffs department, the synths also at the forefront. The laboriously titled 'Action Speaks Louder Than Words' seems to repeat melody lines and ideas heard on earlier tracks. The Tom Waits cover 'New Coat Of Paint' is an awful closer, the band reverting back to their smoky past, interminable piano based blues. Speaking again of artists who've never appealed to me, Tom Waits is definitely on the list.

In Summary
A worthy attempt to flirt with AOR by Johnny and his squad, but as expected it went nowhere and since this album there's been only seven albums in the last 32 years. Even if Southside Johnny isn't your cup of tea, this is still worth investigating if you're partial to AOR of the ultra-commercial variety that was so prevalent in 1984. You've heard it all before, but it doesn't stop it from being an enjoyable romp.

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#1 | gdazegod on October 20 2016 23:01:47
Southside Johnny And The Jukes - 1984 Captured
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