Personnel: Dion DiMucci (vocals, guitar); Keith Scott (guitar); Terry Williams (saxophone, drums); Arno Hecht, Jim Horn (saxophone); Chuck Leavell (keyboards); Dave Taylor, Phil Chen (bass guitar); Mickey Curry (drums); Dave Charles (percussion).
YO FRANKIE!, released in 1989, was something of a comeback album for famed '50s singer Dion. Fortunately, the album was not a strict bid for commercial success, but an attempt to update Dion's sound while still maintaining the integrity of his roots and musical legacy. To that effect, the record succeeds; YO FRANKIE! mixes the past and the present, rock and R&B, and the talents of some surprising guest stars in an artful, focused way.
Produced by Dave Edmunds (who also plays guitar on the album), YO FRANKIE! has a sharp, contemporary sound while never losing sight of Dion's soulful, doo-wop voice. Appearances by Bryan Adams, Paul Simon, Patti Smyth, and Lou Reed increase the profile of the album, yet their performances are integrated elegantly and serve the music rather than overshadow it (which can often be the case with star-studded albums). Overall, this is an impressive, pleasurable, and surprisingly relevant statement from an artist who helped forge rock & roll's first wave.