Review – JW Jones – Bluelisted

Posted on: Monday, Jul 7, 2008

(CrossCut Records: CCD 11095)

His fifth release on CrossCut Records sees fast-rising Canadian guitarist JW-Jones up his game again, following on from the 2006 release, “Kissing In 29 Days” – that release’s mainly soulful feel is replaced by a blistering guitar album, with his regular band featuring on some tracks and a quartet of blues ‘big-hitters’ on six tracks – together on record for the first time are Little Charlie Baty and Junior Watson, and the stellar rhythm section of Richard Innes on drums, and Larry Taylor (bass).

Having followed the career of JW-Jones since “Defibrillatin’ “, back in 2000, one thing that strikes you is how his voice has improved over the years, and on this new release his vocals are in fine order. Indeed, despite the heavy duty guests on board his own Canadian band acquit themselves very well – Jeff Asselin (drums), Martin Regimbald (bass), Jesse Whiteley (keyboards).

A very generous fourteen tracks sees a mix of blues styles, from some West Coast swing, to Texas and Chicago flavours, and rock and roll and jazz thrown in, kicking off with the rocking “Double Eyed Whammy”, with both Baty and Watson taking solos; followed by the funky blues of “Looking The World Straight In The Eye”, dominated by JW’s own guitar laying down some Albert Collins-influenced licks.

The fast shuffle of “Can’t Play A Playboy” sees the band in Texas mode – I would imagine this is a killer live! The band tear it up on Richard Berry’s “Mad About You”, with The Wind-Chill Factor Horns of Frank Scanga (baritone sax) and Martijn “Lewis” Van Toor (tenor sax) to the fore; the jazzy shuffle “Heavy Dosage” is a guitar masterclass with all three players soloing.

A brace of BB King tunes sees JW doffing his cap to one of his heroes – the uptempo, swinging “That’s Wrong Little Mama”, and the tremendous “Waiting On You”, before a trip down to New Orleans for “The Doctor”, featuring some lovely piano work from Jesse Whiteley.

The slow blues of “Out Of Service Blues” is another treat, as Little Charlie Baty lay’s down his guitar to blow some top amplified harmonica. The instrumental “Bogart Bounces Again” contains yet more great guitar from JW-Jones, again in an Albert Collins mode – very fine stuff indeed!

Having caught JW-Jones live in Dublin in 2006, it would be nice to see him over in the UK, until then this will keep his admirers happy – one of the best blues releases of 2008 so far for sure!


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