The JW - Jones Blues Band
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: September2002
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
With all the praise surrounding JW Jones as a hotshot and an artist to watch due to the involvement of people like Kim Wilson and other grizzled veterans, there are those who still haven't bought into the hype. Were the numerous reviews that expound on the capabilities of Jones and his cronies wrong? This is JW's sophomore effort for NorthernBlues and the young Canadian guitarist and his outfit step up for "Bogart's Bounce," an hour-long disc with a fine list of guests who add spark to a very solid outing that blows out of the gate with "Flatline," a drilling instrumental featuring Gene Taylor's desire to add the perfect piano parts to anything he plays on. It's obvious from the four-minute introduction that the guys can definitely play up a storm as both Jones and Southside Steve Marriner (harp) dig into some great chops while Nathan Morris and Matt Sobb lay the foundation, but the only problem (although a recurring one) with the CD appears first in "Jump Tonight." With a guitar in his hands, JW will amaze you, but getting behind a microphone shows that his voice is nowhere near as compelling as his fretwork, and when Marriner takes the singing chores, for his own "Sweet Sugar Mama" and "Don't Sugar Coat It," things improve, though only slightly. Southside's harp tone is rich and full, recalling that of Kim Wilson, who first drops in for the vocal in "Time To Move On," a stirring slice of Southern Soul, and the humping boogie of "Blind Date Woman," where Wilson's voice is powerful and mature, which only goes further in showing the disappointment when Jones takes the slot. Roxanne Potvin steps in to head up the affairs of "You Forgot To Come Back," a fine ballad laced with the gritty guitar that soars dynamically, while Tortoise Blues lays some fine Hammond B-3 work around four cuts with the title track, a quirky instrumental, offering plenty of interesting licks. JW's fretwork definitely holds the interest level high on "Goldtop Groove," another swinging guitar feature, and the Howlin' Wolf approach of "Don't Tease Me" works incredibly well where Jones manages that slinky Hubert Sumlin sound, and for "Without You," the T-Bone Walker nod will please purists and newer listeners easily. Musically, or instrumentally speaking, this disc ranks with any of today's top-shelf players, be it Mr. Wilson, Kid Ramos, Jr. Watson, and many more, but the drawback remains the vocal performances which lack the necessary maturity and grit to push this effort into the 'must-have' category. The young guns clearly understand the importance of tone and it's definitely worth having for the telepathy that Jones and Marriner hand in on each and every track, plus the powderkeg rhythm section details handled by Nathan Morris on upright bass and Matt Sobb's in-the-pocket drumming... and when Kim Wilson pops in, it's all that much more worth getting. Hopefully, JW Jones will focus on the importance of a muscular vocal approach for his next effort, by either taking on a mature frontman, or through opting for a vocal coach. "Bogart's Bounce" isn't a flop by any means, but there's more needed to take this crew to the next level. For more information, go to www.northernblues.com or www.jwjones.com - both with purchasing details.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW (Defibrillatin)!
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