1968 marked the dawn of a rock scene that would develop in the early 70s to wipe out Flower Power and any remaining grip folk music still held on popular music. Seven years earlier, this pop scene found our Dion with his backup group, The Belmonts, singing about teenagers in love. But in the years between, Dion split from The Belmonts, grew a beard, discovered blues and got in tune with his inner Dylan (look up his jangly cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”).
Enter Dion’s take on “Purple Haze”. Gone are the original’s caustic/smoky riffs, riotous drumming and Hendrix’s paranoid vocals. In their stead we find meditative, rhapsodic, inflections that escalate and culminate in a haunting scat breakdown as the song fades to black. This fantastically experimental rendering appears on Dion’s self-titled album from 1968, which (thanks for the popularity of it’s lead track “Abraham, Martin & John”) is both easy to find and very affordable. words / p dufrene