Friday, April 22, 2011

Lloyd Jones "Trouble Monkey" Worth Searching Out.

A major presence on the Portland, Oregon blues scene, guitarist and vocalist Lloyd Jones brings a compelling mix of blues and funk to this new release Trouble Monkey (Audioquest). Jones has a husky voice suggestive of Delbert McClinton, and as a guitarist occasionally suggests Guitar Slim with his slashing string popping, particularly on the New Orleans R&B flavored When I Get Back Home.

Jones handles a variety of grooves and textures and his songs and the arrangements evince a variety of influences, from the high stepping funk of the opening Can’t Get You Off My Mind, to the latin funk of I’ll Be Laughing When They Break Your Heart, with punchy horns. Then there’s the rumba high stepping of Fats Domino’s Rosemary, which finds his guitar string-popping leading into some exciting slide work. I Broke My Baby’s Heart sounds like a vintage piece of deep southern soul, with the horns coming off like the Memphis Horns on an Otis Redding album.

Most of his driving band (with a terrific horn section are new to me, although I believe alto saxophonist Warren Rand is a veteran of Robert Cray’s band, and the rhythm section of keyboard wizard Glenn Holstrom, bassist Victor Little and drummer Reinhardt Metz deserve specific praise. Jones wrote most of songs on this album which continue to resonate in one’s head. Even Jones’ cover of a Sleepy John Estes classic, Drop Down Mama, is a fresh and totally original performance. As typical with Audioquest, this is beautifully recorded and packaged. Kudos to Jones, the band and producer Joe Harley for a superb recording.

This review appeared in the December 1995-January 1996 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 207) although this CD may be hard to find as a CD, one can find it as a download. Jones also recorded for Blind Pig a few years later and has a new CD which is mostly solo acoustic, Highway Bound, that I will be reviewing shortly.

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