Mike Aquilina

Jerome Rocks

Friday September 28th 2007, 3:01 am

The memorial of St. Jerome, Sept. 30, is superseded this year by Sunday, the Lord’s Day — except, of course, where the feast is kept with special devotion. And that would include this blog and the homes of its readers.

I’m sure you’ve already made plans to read my post from last year, when I dubbed Jerome “Doctor Cantankerous.” And surely when you’re there, you’ll follow the links.

But since Jerome is so awesome, you’ll probably want to do something more.

And I have just the thing.

Go directly to iTunes and grab yourself a copy of the just-released song about St. Jerome, by my good friend Dion. Yes, that’s THE Dion, who owned a lot of real estate in the Top 40 charts in the 1950s and ’60s. Last year, Dion was nominated for a Grammy Award for his disk Bronx in Blue. He’s followed up that success with another winner in the blues category, Son Of Skip James. (Skip James is to the later bluesmen what Ignatius of Antioch was to the later Fathers. James often addressed his blues directly to Jesus. An ordained minister, he preached his sermons melodically.)

You can get the music on iTunes now. Or you can pre-order the disk from Amazon. The record label, Verve, has posted some basic information.

But you want to know the song about Jerome, so here’s the scoop. It’s track number 8, and it’s called “The Thunderer.” It’s a moody, brooding piece, and it gives a good sense of the saint, whom Dion reveres and emulates in his own intensive study of the Sacred Page.

I have, on this very blog, called Dion “the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame’s resident expert on patristics.” And he is. I love the fact that he quotes Augustine to reporters from the New York Times. I love the chutzpah of a guy who honors St. Jerome just a few blue notes away from Skip James. As Phyllis McGinley said in her own poetic tribute to Jerome: “It takes all kinds to make a heaven.”

When Lou Reed gave Dion’s induction speech at the Hall of Fame, he said, “Nobody’s cooler than Dion.” I say amen to that.

Don’t let the feast day end before you’ve spent your ninety-nine cents to buy “The Thunderer” on iTunes. If you’re really cool, you’ll buy the whole album. I’ll bet Jerome would — though he’d probably get one of those rich Roman ladies to pick up the tab.

UPDATE: Junior points out that the search function on iTunes only turns up the album if you use “Son of Skip James” as your search term. For some reason, it doesn’t come up for a search on “Dion.” He also notes that Apple has the album categorized as “Rap/Hip-Hop,” which is funny.