Picks and Pans Review: At Least We Got Shoes

updated 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Southside Johnny & the Jukes

Traditional blues, R&B and soul remain the primary inspiration behind the music of Johnny Lyon. In fact he still bears the nickname he earned with his affinity for the blues associated with Chicago's South Side. The 37-year-old singer, who used to haunt Jersey's As-bury Park bar scene with Bruce Springsteen in a band called Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, knows how to combine the best elements of rock's earliest forms to make this album cook. A spicy-hot horn section sometimes overpowers Johnny's gravel-rough singing and there are too many riffs that were clichés by the end of the '60s. But, boy, do these tunes make the pull to the dance floor irresistible. Johnny breaks up a mostly fast-paced set with a wistful, beautifully phrased cover of the 1966 Left Banke hit, Walk Away Renee, backed by a superb vocal trio—Ta-watha Agee, Cindy Mizelle and Kurtis King Jr. The LP's most unusual cut, Lorraine, has a funk foundation punctuated with deft jazz solos by keyboardist Rusty Cloud and trumpeter Mark Pender. When it comes to innovators, Johnny's name doesn't come up. But if you're talking solid, good-time rock 'n' roll, he's the subject of the conversation. (Atlantic)

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