There was a post on BTX the other day about From My Home to Yours that made me realise the last episode I listened to was the one with Stevie and Southside (in the summer of 2020.. holy moly!). I loved that episode and thinking back about it the way Bruce complemented their presence with music of the Shore was stunning. I even found myself playing similar songs from the Archive Series on a walk yesterday - "Jole Blon" and "This Little Girl" with Bondsy in NJ 1981; "Tenth" from NJ 1984; "It's Been a Long Time" from NJ 1993 etc.
That led me to playing a few Southside albums last night as I worked on a 2016 show review. I'd never listened to This Time It's For Real, Hearts of Stone or I Don't Want to Go Home in full, and unsurprisingly they're just what I needed to hear. Yeah a lot of what I'm loving is the music I know that Bruce and Stevie have written, but for the first time Southside and his impressive voice has hit me in the right way. "Hearts of Stone" in particular has gone right up in my estimation (I never thought of it negatively, I just didn't love it).
Not much else to say about this, but wanted to share.
Not sure why I didn't mention Better Days honestly, quite enjoyed hearing Southside's version of "Coming Back". Mind, if I'm listening to "It's Been a Long Time" I've gotta play NJ '93. The studio doesn't do it for me quite like that one.
Been replaying the "Hearts of Stone" from Sunrise 2014 today and it's crazy to me how in future I'll opt for Southside over that one. As to whether I'd play it over the Tracks studio cut is to be decoded though hahaha.
I'm a longtime fan of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. That might come with the Jersey DNA, and there were plenty of opportunities to see the Jukes when you couldn't see Bruce. Of course, those three albums you mention, the 70s records with Steve and Bruce are the seminal works - I'd throw Better Days in with them and I think that's a record you would dig. Their records after Hearts of Stone are hit and miss, but there are some great songs that had no input from Bruce and Steve. Their later albums, I'm talking 2000's output, are pretty damn great, especially Soul Time, Pills & Ammo and Detour Ahead, Johnny's Billie Holiday covers album. His Tom Waits covers album is damned nice, too.
Johnny, Steve and Bruce - it's all there on It's Been A Long Time - three kindred spirits. Johnny is one hell of a singer. I think Steve and Bruce were right when they said he is the best vocalist of the three. Bruce is my favorite voice of the three, but Johnny was technically better for a long time.
Right here is my choice for their best song with no Bruce or Steve involvement.