Dion - Born To Be With You/Streetheart

Sunday 1st July 2001
Dion - Born To Be With You/Streetheart
Dion - Born To Be With You/Streetheart

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Ace Records CDCHD793

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

I bought a second hand copy of 'Born To Be With You' on vinyl in the early '80s in Tape and Record Exchange. It cost £1. I'd fallen in love with Dion's 'Inside Job' gospel album having once loved the Bronx maestro's doowop/rock'n'roll. So, I reasoned, this stone flop from 1975 has to be some good. For one thing it was produced by Phil Spector whose famed Wall of Sound had been an accompaniment to my teenage years back in the '60s. For another thing, there were enough hints on the sleeve, like a version of the gospel warhorse "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands", to think this was a post-conversion project. But more importantly, 'Born To Be With You' was, to my ears, one of the most stunning albums I had ever heard. Now 20 years on seemingly the whole world agrees. That £1 purchase has become a collector's item and people are lining up to say how cloth-eared the public was for not recognising it as a classic back in 1975. "Awesome," commented a Daily Telegraph critic; "Absolutely beautiful," raved Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie while Sean Rowley on Channel 4 claimed that, "This record will change your life." This timely reissue comes from Ace (the brilliant mainstream record company who also brought you Dion's essential gospel compilation 'Deja Nu'). So what do you get here? Well, for a start you get one of the GREAT voices of pop, a majestic instrument that can tackle wistful folk or downtown doowop, sassy blues or soaring ballads and bring his own "live the song" identity to everything he tackles. Secondly, you get a quintessential production from the mad genius of the studio were 10 guitar players, two xylophones, three bass players, an eight piece horn section, choir, string section and four percussionists show that noisy pop didn't begin with heavy metal. Thirdly, you get some artfully chosen songs taking in Mann and Weils' prayer to "Make The Woman Love Me", the haunting "Only You Know" (penned by Gerry Goffin and Phil Spector), the gutbucket "Good Lovin' Man" (complete with Elmore James-style guitar licks) and the tour-de-force title track where a 1958 Chordettes hit is transformed into an unforgettable declaration of tremulous adoration. Apparently Dion's stunning vocal with its riveting "born-born-born-born-born to be with you" hook was a first take improvisation to fill up the gaps of the dirge-tempo track while the sax breaks are sublime. Then, as a piece de resistance there's "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" which, in the words of Mojo magazine, "Sounds like a team of 100 people celebrating life, love and faith." If 'Born To Be With You' wasn't enough, this reissue also gives you a bonus track, "Baby Let's Stick Together", great sleeve notes and, on the same CD, a revisit to the 1976 'Streetheart' (coproduced incidentally by Michael Omartian) does a nifty version of the Temps' soul classic "The Way You Do The Things You Do", while Dion's chilling rendition of "If I Can Just Get Through The Night" recalls his battle against the demons of drug addiction before his Christian deliverance in 1968. Utterly recommended.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Doug in Maryland USA @ 11:56 on Apr 15 2008

The track Queen of '59 on SH was NOT redone on his first Christian LP/Cd "Inside Job" as "New Jersey Wife". It's a totally different song.

Posted by terry mccoy in Aurora,CO,USA @ 00:42 on Apr 15 2008

De Ju Nu' was not a "gospel" CD,Di released his "Gospel Years" LP/CDs between 1980/81~86.

The track Queen of '59 on SH was redone on his first Christian LP/Cd "Inside Job" as "New Jersey Wife".
Queen also had Phil Everly helping on duet,someone posted the rare TV show segment,of Dion playing the piano(who knew!?) singing the song on YouTube!!

I and 4 other REAL teenagers got to sing "A Teenager In Love"(canned "Belmonts track) in a former Denver church concert the evening of 11 April 1986...,with Dion doing the live lead part...,I was 29!!


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