Roots-Rock Album: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – “Pills and Ammo”

Fans of authentic East Coast/R&B/Jersey Shore rock and roll need to take a listen to the new album from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Pills and Ammo is newly released (info at and the record has a decided (and welcome) rock and roll edge.

from his website:
“While still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes’ trademark, and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, this new CD has a sharper, guitar-oriented, rock and roll feel to it. A harder edge for harder times.”

→ Hear “One More Night to Rock

What Rob Says:
Johnny Lyon has been around for damn near 40 years. He’s to be applauded (and maybe enshrined) for being able to still make good music that’s not so much affected by changes in the music scene as changes in music technology.

Southside Johnny and the Jukes had a gritty, “greater than you may realize” time of it during the ’70s before their ’80s recordings became too shiny and less urgent. His Better Days record in 1991 with old cohorts Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt still rates as one of the greatest rock comeback albums in the past 25 years.

On the new record, Gary U.S. Bonds even comes in to sing. That’s a nice nod to the history between Bonds, Springsteen and Van Zandt (they helped him with two pretty good albums in the 80’s) and the roots of the shore sound, which Bonds helped develop in the 60’s.

Southside and the Jukes consistency live has carried them through the less-than-great albums, and Lyon has remained true to his don’t-mess-with-me, “ah, fuggedaboutit” stage persona. Anyone at an early SSJ Ribfest show in Indianapolis about 10 years ago, in the Murat parking lot? It was one of those unexpectedly killer shows that, if you go to enough concerts, you happily stumble away from a couple times a year. When he pulled out a classic (“I Don’t Wanna A Go Home” or his version of “Havin’ a Party”) and nailed it, you got a sense of being in the presence of a old rock school legend.

And this new record sounds like a Jersey guy who still feels he’s vital.

Hear three songs on Southside Johnny’s Pills and Ammo YouTube page


One thought on “Roots-Rock Album: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – “Pills and Ammo”

  1. I love the review – BUT – old Southside must be playing for the fun and not the money. I live in Australia and have been a long, long, long, time fan – BUT – I can’t buy the CD, not even from his store. His web store keeps asking me questions only a buyer in the US can answer. What is the story with the CD’s restrictiveness?

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