They all came back, David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Adam Ant, Boy George, all these pretty things who still had something to say. Boy George’s This Is What I Do shared qualities with Dion’s Born To Be With You – shooting for redemption, cleaning up the old act – just with rather more sunshine reggae interludes. In King Of Everything (“Put down the booze/Let the demons win the fight/I drop my gloves to the ground”, “Tempting myself time and time again/Like self-destruction was so cool”), George was contrite but bombastic, with a tingler of a bridge and a gloriously lived-in voice to lift the song out of the Oasis swamp.
Some people don’t think he managed that. “It’s a bit slow and drooping,” says Junior. But surely that’s its stately power? Junior 2 shakes her head. Junior 3 has fallen asleep.
My mum introduced me to Dion. His music, I mean – she’s not a close personal friend. She might have had trouble with his drug years, if her attitude to my teenage smoking’s anything to go by. I’m not sure how this squares with her and my dad bringing back container-loads of duty free fags for my brother (13 years younger), but let’s save that one for another day.
So my mum introduced me to Dion a few years ago when she bought me 1975’s Phil Spector-produced Born To Be With You after reading a feature in the Telegraph. Great decision – it’s a truly stupendous record – although she was more into the rock’n’roll Dion and his Belmonts. This Dylan cover comes somewhere in between. It’s from Wonder Where I’m Bound, a cash-in collection of folk-rock efforts originally released in 1969 but reissued this year, and has that familiar, easy Dion swing. Something in his Bronx brogue is enormously warm and comforting and the arrangement sparkles, in a Byrdsian way perhaps.
This place should become a bit of a three-hander now. It’s Junior’s blog of course, but Junior 2 (three and a half to Junior’s six and a third) is increasingly the one who’s most interested in what I’m sticking on the stereo. Well, they’re different types of engagement, I suppose. Junior is now aware of the pop world around her and knows what she likes – and more and more it’s not what I’m choosing. That’s only right. But Junior 2 wants to know all about what I’m playing: she wants to see the sleeves, she wants to exchange croons of “baby blue”, she wants to compare with the Dylan original. Soon enough she’ll decide on her own stuff. That’s only right too.
In the meantime I’ll vainly carry on doing what I’m doing, possibly more frequently.