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Monday, 4 June 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Dedication - Gary U.S. Bonds (April 1981)

Dedication - Gary U.S. Bonds
EMI America Records
Produced by Gary U.S. Bonds, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt
Released April 1981
U.S. Chart #27

Listen to Dedication Here:

Tracklist and Songwriters
Side A
A1 Jole Blon 3:25 (feat. Bruce Springsteen on Vocals)
A2 This Little Girl 3:42 (feat. Bruce Springsteen on Vocals, the song was also written by Springsteen)
A3 Your Love 3:26 (feat. Ben E. King and Chuck Jackson on Vocals, the song was written by Bruce Springsteen)
A4 Dedication 3:11 (written by Bruce Springsteen)
A5 Daddy's Come Home 6:22 (written by Steven Van Zandt)
Side B
B1 It's Only Love 3:03 (written by John Lennon)
B2 The Pretender 6:12 (written by Jackson Browne)
B3 Way Back When 4:03 (written by Bonds and George Bruno)
B4 From A Buick 6 4:24 (written by Bob Dylan
B5 Just Like A Child 3:40 (written by John Clemente. Laurie C. Anderson, Louis Conte)

    Gary U.S. Bonds - lead vocals
    Bruce Springsteen - guitars, background vocals (solo "Jole Blon")
    Steven Van Zandt - bass, fuzz bass, guitar, bongos, background vocals
    Roy Bittan - keyboards
    Clarence Clemons - saxophone, background vocals
    Danny Federici - accordion, keyboards
    Garry W. Tallent - bass
    Max Weinberg - drums

    Additional musicians:
        Chuck Jackson - vocals
        Ben E. King - vocals
        Ellie Greenwich - background vocals
        Carol Williams - background vocals
        John Clemente - bass
        Rusty Cloud - keyboards
        Luis Conte - guitar
        Rick Gazda - trumpet, background vocals
        Ula Hedwig - background vocals
        Brenda Hilliard - background vocals
        La Bamba - trombone
        Eddie Manion - tenor saxophone
        Mike Micara - drums
        Rob Parissi - guitar
        Michael Spengler - trumpet
        Joey Stann - baritone saxophone, background vocals
        Carole Sylvan - background vocals
        Brenda Joyce Hillard - background vocals
        Mikie Harris - background vocals

Singles On Dedication
(UK Picture Sleeve)

(U.S. Picture Sleeve)

This Little Girl / Way Back When
U.S. and UK Release April 1981
U.S. Chart #11
UK Chart #43

(UK Picture Sleeve)

(Dutch Picture Sleeve)

Jolé Blon / Just Like A Child
U.S. and UK Release July 1981
U.S. Chart #65
UK Chart #51

(UK Picture Sleeve)
It's Only Love / This Little Girl (Live)*
Released September 1981
UK Chart #43

*In other European Territories Your Love was the B-Side

Your Love / Just Like A Child
U.S. and Canada Release
Released October 1981
Did Not Chart

Capitol Theater NJ

Your Love
Daddy's Come Home
This Little Girl
Quarter To Three

When mention is made of the great Soul singers of the Sixties there's a couple of names that are usually absent from the list, James Carr (I did a post about him awhile back) and Gary U.S. Bonds

Today the spotlight shines on Gary U.S. Bonds. I first heard of him back in the late Seventies when I heard a Bruce Springsteen bootleg and he was playing Quarter To Three. In the UK he had a couple of hit singles (New Orleans - #16 in 1960 and Quarter To Three - #7 in 1961) and even in his homeland he had a few hit singles between 1960-62 and a load of singles afterwards (up until 1975) that didn't chart at all.

He only released two albums in the Sixties, Dance 'til Quarter to Three with U.S. Bonds (1961) and Twist Up Calypso (1962) and it wouldn't be until 1981 that his third studio album gave a resurgence to his career thanks to Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and the rest of The E Street Band.

Bruce Springsteen not only provided Production on it but also a few of the songs that would make up the Dedication album (This Little Girl, Your Love, and Dedication) but he added his vocals and guitar to both This Little Girl and Jolé Blon. Steven Van Zandt wrote the excellent Daddy's Come Home (and showed just what a talented writer he is) as well as offering his Production skills and his instrumental abilities. The E Street Band alongside many members of The Asbury Jukes are also in force giving their backing to the project.

It's a really great album with a bit of a Sixties feel to it yet doesn't feel dated at all. The choice of covers is pretty much on point, especially Bonds' reading of the classic Jackson Browne song The Pretender (which is one of my favourite songs on the album).

A bit of stuff for the Musical Anoraks! 😀

Dedication would not be the last time that Gary U.S. Bonds would work along Springsteen, Van Zandt and The E Street Band as year later the On the Line album (Listen here to the album, two tracks are missing (Springsteen's All I Need and Van Zandt's Last Time) as I couldn't find them on You Tube) would be produced again by Springsteen and Van Zandt and seven of the tracks are written by Bruce, one by Little Steven. Word is that there were actually another three songs written by Springsteen that were recorded but not released (Action in the Street - still unreleased on any album by Springsteen to date - though a live version from 1977 is on an Archive release; Lion's Den - appeared on the Tracks Box set by Springsteen in 1998; and Savin' Up - was released on Clarence Clemons debut album Rescue in 1983).

In the liner notes on the Razor Edge Reissue in 1991 it was mentioned that Bruce's vocals were removed from the album by order of Columbia Records and apart from the songwriting credits his name doesn't appear, but he does under the pseudonym of Rusty Cloud! The duet of Angelyne instead featured the vocals of Little Steven.

The 1984 album Standing in the Line of Fire features Little Steven on the title track that he wrote for the album. Back last year during the Soulfire Tour Gary U.S. Bonds joined Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul on stage at The Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York to perform it. Little Steven included the song on the Soulfire album released in May 2017.

Gary U.S. Bonds would team up again with Bruce Springsteen on the opening track of his 2004 album Back In 20, Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks.

In 2012 Gary U.S. Bonds joined Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band on stage at the Metlife Stadium to sing Jolé Blon and This Little Girl.

In two days time (6th June 2018) Gary U.S. Bonds will hit the magical age of 79 years old, so in advance of that day we offer up a birthday greeting to him and thank him for more than 60 years service in Soul, R&B and Rock & Roll.
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