The other guy from Asbury Park

Last week, over at The Vinyl District, I shared the sad, sordid tale of how I grew up in the ’70s and never really got into Bruce Springsteen.

That posed some challenges after I went away to college. My friend Doug was — and still is — a hardcore Springsteen fan. Hanging with Doug could be tough if he wanted to listen to Springsteen all night.

Fortunately, we found some middle ground. We both dug Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the great R&B big band that thundered out of Asbury Park, New Jersey, not long after Springsteen hit it big.

Southside Johnny Lyon passed muster with Doug because he was one of Springsteen’s pals and did a bunch of songs written by Springsteen.

I liked Southside because the music was more upbeat and joyous than that of Springsteen, especially on “This Time It’s For Real.” That was their second album, released in 1977. It was arranged and produced by Miami Steve Van Zandt, who wrote eight of its 10 songs.

You can head over to The Vinyl District to hear some cuts from Side 2, which features five R&B workouts, all written by Van Zandt (and three with Springsteen as his co-writer).

Tonight on the Midnight Tracker, though, we have Side 1 for you.

“This Time It’s For Real,” “Without Love,” “Check Mr. Popeye,” “First Night” and “She Got Me Where She Wants Me,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, from “This Time It’s For Real,” 1977. This is Side 1. It runs 20:44.

Side 1 is an extended nod to classic R&B. The first cut, the anthemic title track, put the horns to work right out of the gate. The second cut, “Without Love,” is an Aretha Franklin cover. The goofy “Check Mr. Popeye” features the Coasters. “First Night,” written by Van Zandt, features the Satins and is dedicated to some of the top DJs of the late ’50s and early ’60s.

The LP “This Time It’s For Real” is out of print, at least on its own. It is available on this 2-on-1 CD also featuring “I Don’t Want To Go Home,” the group’s fine debut record from 1976.

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One Comment on “The other guy from Asbury Park”


  1. When I was in high school – planted well within the heart of Bruce country, where he was huge years before he broke on a wide scale – I missed the boat on both Bruce and Southside in the 70s. I was to busy jumping from the Beatles to New Wave. Years later, when I developed a taste for early Bruce (first four LPs) I really started to appreciate Southside for the quality R&B, and like you said, dug the upbeat vibe. Less of an AR-TEEST than Bruce. Heard him do a live bit on Sirius last week and he sounded good.


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