Lloyd Jones is a blues and R+B legend in the Pacific Northwest, voted "Best R+B Act" by the Cascade Blues Association nine years running from 1992-2000. Jones is considered one of the most original performers on the contemporary blues scene in the Pacific Northwest. His musical talent has received praise from none other than contemporary blues giant, Robert Cray. Blues masters Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Joe Louis Walker have both recorded songs written by Lloyd Jones and his resume includes work with another Pacific Northwest star, Curtis Salgado, playing guitar on Salgado's latest recording, Soul Activated.
Small Potatoes, Lloyd Jones' latest release on Portland based Burnside Records, is actually a reissue of his 1976 debut release on the CRI label. Jones and his band, The Struggle, work their way through ten excellent, all original tunes in Lloyd Jones self-described "Swampified Memphis Groove." From the opening number, "Small Potatoes," to the funked out finale, "If I Didn't Love You," Lloyd Jones and the Struggle put together a fine set of Memphis-style, horn-infected blues. Throughout the CD, Jones demonstrates that from the beginning of his recorded work in 1976, he was a talented songwriter, guitarist and singer.
Highlights on Small Potatoes include the opener and title track, "Small Potatoes," filled with great horns and strong vocals and "Toughen Up," an edgier tune that turned out to be one of my favorites. "Jump Sister Bessie" is an appropriately titled jump blues featuring a great tenor sax solo by Bob Roden and some smooooth guitar by Jones. Another notable tune, "Nothing You Can Say," features guest vocalist Curtis Salgado along with a solo reprise by Roden. Finally, "You'd Be Crazy Too" is more of a rock n' roll tune that reminded me of the classic, "Sea Cruise."
Listening to The Lloyd Jones Struggle on Small Potatoes is a guaranteed toe tapper that will make blues fans wonder why Lloyd Jones is not better known on a national level. To pick up a copy of Small Potatoes, check out Burnside Records website at
www.burnsiderecords.com or any online CD seller.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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