Friday, January 04, 2013

Lets Give An Amen To Johnny Jones

The late Johnny Jones was a strong guitarist that was a mainstay of the Nashville Rhythm and Blues scene from the sixties on. The following review was part of a composite review of releases on the German Blue Label/SPV that appeared in the April 2007 Jazz and Blues Report (Issue 292) and I have made minor stylistic changes. I received my review copy from the publication.

Johnny Jones was a central part of the Nashville R&B scene for the past half century. Originally from the Memphis, he became part of Ted Jarrett’s traveling revue and eventually settled in Nashville where he was studio guitarist for many of Jarrett’s productions and also part of the studio band for The !!!!Beat TV show and led his band The King Casuals with bassist Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix would Jones in this band, and Jones would give Hendrix some pointers). 

Jones' career was revived with the help of Fred James and was highly acclaimed overseas with albums on Black Magic and Northern Blues before the live recording, Can I Get An Amen, from Bern, Switzerland. Its a terrific performance with Jones straight forward vocals and guitar playing which suggests to these ears the late Son Seals. Albert King is an obvious influence with the fine opening, funky interpretation of Don’t Throw Your Love on Me So Strong, followed by William Bell’s Chip Off the Old Block. 

The title track opens with some down-in-the alley guitar before he launches into an intense vocal. Herb Stuffing is a funky instrumental with plenty of searing guitar and commentary from Jones. His friend Charles Walker joins on a fervent take on Don Covay’s Ain’t Nothin’ a Young Girl Can Do.This is a fine set of contemporary urban blues, sung with heart and played with plenty of fire which is easy to recommend

Here is a video of Johnny Jones from a few years ago shortly before he passed away.

No comments: