If ever there was an award for the greatest comeback album ever 'Better Days' would be a real contender. After some rather patchy albums in the 80's that saw Johnny and Jukes straying from the tried and tested rock and soul formula that had served them so well in the 70's, this was a blistering reminder of just what a great band this was (and still is). With Steve Van Zandt back at the controls and with a clutch of great songs, all the power, energy and sheer joy of The Jukes in full flow is there to be enjoyed. With members of the E Street band alongside Johnny, Bruce, Steve, Jon Bon Jovi, the quality of the album never drops below that full 5 star rating. 'Soul's On Fire' is up there with 'Hearts of Stone' as a bona fide Jukes classic - full of passion and intensity that simply grabs hold of you from the slow opening to the full on chorus. Southside has simply never been in better voice on record. 'I've Been Working Too Hard', 'Better Days, 'Ride The Night Away' and 'Shake 'em Down' rock you off your feet, and as one of the reviewers says elsewhere, just begs to be played on the car stereo - very loud. This is also the album where Bobby Banderia came into his own and took over Billy Rush's mantle as The Jukes guitarist. Great rythmn and short, crisp but thrilling solo's.
In this form, with the right songs and producer in place, nobody, but nobody plays this type of music (however you define it) better than Southside Johnny - and that includes Bruce at his most ebullient. Music to make you feel good. Absolutely essential listening and recommended without a moments hesitation.
An enthusiastic review from fan on Amazon that says it all. My rating 4.90, new album to me, was amazed after first play, especially It's Been A Long Time with vocals from SSJ, Bruce & Stevie Van Zandt.