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The Billy Jones Story – The Times And Travels Of An American Bluesman
(Blues Society Sampler)
Review Date: November 2009
by Norman Darwen
The first four tracks encapsulate Arkansas-born Billy Jones – a wicked, raw, live version of Albert King's 'Personal Manager', 'my Hometown' (sic), a bleak, stark portrayal of the ghetto set to a busy but laid-back and bluesy musical commentary that epitomizes what some have defined as his “gangsta bluez” (though it is perhaps even better on 'Ain't Good Lookin'), the rocking, rollicking, down-home, and subtly Howling Wolf inflected 'Blues Comes Callin'' and the bluesy/ reggae fusion of 'Revolution Bluez' with its doomy lyrics and distorted guitar break. If you can, try to hear 'Crystal' – rock guitar put to proper use within the blues – or the smooth urban contemporary sound of 'Never Let You Go' for a complete contrast. I first encountered Billy's music via his two albums on the Dutch label Black & Tan and felt that it was a real travesty and pretty incomprehensible that no-one in the American blues industry had picked up on this extremely talented young blues-and-then-some-man. He has an excellent voice, a committed attitude, contemporary sensibilities with deep blues roots, and a strong sense of what is right – musically and otherwise. I still find it hard to believe no-one in the USA has picked him up yet. But if the right people hear this, that could – and should - change very quickly indeed..
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