A Fabulous Masterclass in British Blues
Paul Jones has been one of my favourite singers since my pre-teen years in the 1960’s with Manfred Mann; and even through his solo period before he launched The Blues Band one of my brothers had a solo album of his that I played regularly.
So; it was with more than a degree of excitement that I set about listening to this career spanning retrospective.
Even though I consider myself a ‘fan’ there’s still more than a few songs here that I either don’t know or have completely forgot over the last 50 years or so.
The first of these is opening track; the low down and mean old Blues missive; Without You; but with hindsight it really is as good a way to introduce Paul Jones and his diverse back catalogue as it not only showcases his majestic voice but his mastery of the harmonica too.
Personally I’d have liked the tracks to be in chronological order; but that’s a minor point and easily forgiven as the balance is actually nigh on perfect from start to finish.
His all too brief stint in Manfred Mann is represented by 5-4-3-2-1; and with not hearing it for decades has been an absolute blast; and I’d forgot how raw it actually was; and just may have been my own introduction to the joys of a well played Harmonica.
Of the other songs that I recognised from the first few bars, and essential additions to Paul Jones’ ‘story’ are the original Blues Band song which introduces the members one by one; I’m Your Kingpin (which was a mainstay of just about every bar band I heard in the 1970’s! and the Chicago infused It’s Got To Be The Blues which was another song that sent me down a musical rabbit hole many years ago.
Without pretending I know what I’m talking about, there a couple of songs here that are very much ‘of their time’ and the world would keep spinning if The Dog Presides, The Pod That Came Back and Choose Or Cop Out had been missed off here.
But there are more than enough diamonds that I’ve re-discovered like the raunchy Suddenly I Like It; the sensual Like Mother Like Daughter and Noah Lewis Blues to more than make up for those three.
Treating this retrospective as a Brand New Album makes choosing a Favourite Song a bit easier; as Paul’s ode to Sonny Boy Williamson is exciting beyond belief; and the finale; a sweet ballad, I’ll Be Home Again Tonight shows what a terribly underrated singer Paul Jones has been over the last 60 years.|
For the life of my I can’t place the rip-roaring stompers, Living For The Day and It Sure Feels Good; but I know them, yet neither appear to be anywhere in my collection; so I guess they must have impressed themselves on me in a live setting …. and if they has; then they both deserve their place as my Favourite Song here.
While this is meant to be a retrospective of his career … NO I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Boy or High Time?
I know Paul Jones is a multi Award winning British Blues Icon; but that still doesn’t stop him being underrated and undervalued by the music paying public at large; so it’s not too late for you to buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend who deserves to hear a bundle of fabulous British Blues sung by a Mastercraftsman.
Released September 30th 2022
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