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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2008
Most of Dion's recorded output is available on CD, including a lot of material not released at the time, but a lot of it is in the form of compilations and it is impossible to collect without ending up with a lot of duplications. The Road I'm On is an overview of Dion's time with the Columbia label, between 1962 and 1966, during which time he producing two albums and a dozen singles. Both albums were named after huge hit singles, Ruby Baby and Donna The Prima Donna. A third album of outtakes, Wonder Where I'm Bound, was released in 1968, long after Dion had left the label.

Of the 35 tracks on this 2CD, a dozen are previously unreleased and a few more are first-time stereo re-issues. Seven tracks are duplicated from an earlier compilation, Bronx Blues, which had twelve tracks not included here, though some are merely alternate versions or mixes.

Dion was in the process of breaking away from his doo-wop roots during this period, and exploring the burgeoning folk-rock scene as well as discovering a deep love for the blues, long before the British invasion of the blues and beat groups that introduced the form to the US mainstream. A few of these came out on singles, such as Hoochie Coochie Man (the only mono mix on this 2CD) and Spoonful, but mostly they stayed in the vaults. His folk-rock leanings were sometimes quite derivative of Bob Dylan. As well as covering It's All Over Now Baby Blue some of his own songs were blatant pastiches of Dylan songs, as Dion struggled for direction. The unreleased My Love, for example, owes a lot to Love Minus Zero Equals No Limit. On top of this, during 1965 Dion was working with Dylan's producer Tom Wilson, and they put together a session band called the Wanderers that featured Al Kooper, who famously played on Like A Rolling Stone, and Carlo Mastrangelo from the Belmonts. One unfortunate reason for the lack of appearance of many of these sides is Dion's descent into heroin addiction, which began in 1964, but from which thankfully he later recovered.

Each disc ends with a couple of special tracks. Disc One has an early version of Ruby Baby, flourishing a fabulous sax solo, and an Italian language version of Donna The Prima Donna. Disc Two has two tracks newly recorded at the time the album was being compiled, in 1996, with his new band the Little Kings: a version of Born To Cry, and a song written by the band's guitarist Scott Kempner, You Move Me. Oddly, this isn't mentioned in the sleeve notes, which are rather reticent about what was and wasn't released or when tracks were cut (in fact nothing else here was recorded more recently than February 1966).
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on 20 March 2016
This was a serious surprise. Three distinct periods are covered by this CD and none are light weight. OK, the early period is early sixties pop, but even that is OK. then it takes off.
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on 8 February 2015
Excellent.
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on 24 March 2010
Dion has made great music for 50 years and is still doing so. Long live the 'King of the New York streets'
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