How many albums do you have to own to have a complete Dion album collection? . I hear you say "does he mean all 120+ albums from the authoritative Watson Discography (published on this site)?" No. Get rid of the hits collections and I reckon you have a mere 30 to collect. So lets have a look at where we go .
Where (CD) appears the album has been released on compact disc in the UK or USA.
Wish Upon a Star (CD)
Alone With (CD)
Love Came to Me/Lt. Girl
(CD) Lovers who Wander (CD)
Run-around Sue (CD)
So why didn't you do that the first Time (CD)
While you can look for the scratchy vinyl originals, the best way to hear this collection is to acquire the Ace CD's now deleted, but still available from better UK record shops. From white Doo-wop to 60's pop there's no better collection. I make no apologies for including "So why didn't you..." because it is an excellent collection of early tracks and out takes not otherwise available.
The Laurie collection is now managed by EMI, which at its transfer put fear into Dion supporters . True to form EMI after 3 years has released one uninspired hits collection. They can't manage their own back catalogue, so what hope for them making a good job of the Laurie one ?
Donna The Prima Donna
Wonder Where I'm Bound
Bronx Blues (CD)
The Road I'm on (CD)
This period reflects the changes affecting all creative artists. In 3 years we go from cabaret, Rhythm and pop, to folk, blues and early rock music experiments.
This period is best summed up by both the Bronx Blues and Road I'm on compilations, while not satisfactory replacements for the original vinyl releases, have sufficient new tracks and original takes to satisfy all but the completist, to justify their inclusion.
Donna Prima Donna and Ruby Baby would make an excellent pairing for a CD and Wonder Where I'm Bound plus some of those still missing from CD release Columbia tracks would make a second welcome re-release.
Together Again 1966
Dion back with the Belmonts but as usual going in his own direction, produces a proto punk album.
Dion Album - Abraham Martin and John 1968 (CD USA only)
The folk singer stage starts here, with a collection of songs destined to become standards over the next decade. Great songs and performances sometimes drowned by inappropriate orchestration.
Your Not Alone
Suite for Late Summer
Born to be with You
Reunion (CD - US only )
The early 70's sees the flowering of Dion the singer song writer. The catalogue extends from the intimate "Old Friend" to the "Suite " of love songs, to the laid back soul of Streetheart and finally into the producer dominated experiments of "Born". Re-releases of Streetheart could be enhanced by the extra track "Virgin Eyes" and "Born" by the addition of "Baby lets stick together".
The one album that doesn't fit the trend is "Reunion", where back with his old buddies for a one night stand, the excitement of the crowd helped them to reach new heights.
Return of the Wanderer (CD)
Fire in the night (CD)
1978 saw our man return to form. "Return" is still one of his fans favourite albums. It was however followed by the lack lustre "Fire" . Together now on a single Ace CD they manage to complement each other.
I Put away my idols
Kingdom in the Streets
Velvet and Steel (CD)
Another change in direction with 5 gospel albums recorded on the trot. Only available through Christian shops and now deleted, they are a mellower version of his 70's albums preferring the forgiving Lord to the more vengeful version. The complete albums are unlikely to see full CD release so the recent ACE Dion: Gospel years collection is highly recommended .
Yo Frankie (CD)
Dream on Fire (CD)
Rock'n'Roll Christmas (CD)
Why did he return from the other side? Who cares. What we got was "Yo Frankie" a superb album, mixing and matching all his former styles and relying heavily on the material he must have stored up while away from the mainstream. Produced by Dave Edmunds the album won him new fans all around the world and revitalised some of his old ones. With a bit more publicity and push it could have become an international best seller.
While the opening track of the follow up had all the fire of its predecessor, the rest of the material was mediocre.
The Christmas album was just a throwaway fun album. Who can explain his motives for recording it then? Better than Perry Comos Christmas but no match for the Lords effort (Spectres Christmas Album what else).
I have found collecting Dion albums very rewarding in terms of the quality of work and his numerous changes in musical direction to inspire him and his most loyal listeners. Dimucci invented regular changes in musical direction before the Beatles or Bowies were out of their musical nappies.
What we need now is a visionary record executive, who could see the value in re-releasing the whole of his back catalogue, over a short period of time. Someone committed to the whole man rather than just the 60's icon. While this would involve a number of cross licensing deals (a major problem) the economic rewards of getting this work back on the shelves should be economically worth it..
The problems of marketing Dions albums in the 1960's - his inconsistencies - is their very strength in selling his works, as AOR today. His unique selling point could be, the only 50's rock'n'roll artist, still being CREATIVE in the 90's. Getting the old man back on the world circuit drawing attention to himself would also help to give a much higher profile to his back catalogue.
Get his albums back onto the rock mainstream record shop shelves between Diamond and Dylan - that's all we ask ?