Billy Ray Charles
Jones was "raised from the age of six months in my grandfather's
cafe and boarding house, The Cedar Street Cafe - 903 Cedar Street -
North Little Rock, Arkansas. The room that we lived in was directly
behind the wall of the main ballroom where the juke box was. My crib
was on the other side of that wall, so as a baby I would be laying
there listening to Elmore James, Big Joe Turner, Jackie Wilson, B.
B. King, Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke and all the blues and soul greats
while the cafe customers played records and partied well into the
night. My bed would vibrate on the bass notes. That was my first
exposure to the music. I absorbed the music as I could literally
hear it in my sleep. One of the first thoughts that I remember
having was that I wanted to be like B.B. King and Elmore James".
"Prime Suspect For The Blues" (Cyborg Blue 1997)
1 Marry My
"Live On The Road" (Cyborg Blue 2002)
info needed on this album
"Tha' Bluez" (Black And Tan 2006)
1 Come Back Tonight
**** 14 strong original jams comprise the debut CD for Black & Tan Records by Delta-based Blues dynamo Billy Jones. Equal parts Soul-drenched R & B, Funk and Mississippi Blues the immodestly-titled "Tha Bluez" is one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. I was familiar with Jones' merely fair (and often synthesized) independent release "Suspect For The Blues" so I wasn't expecting such a great sounding album. "Tha Bluez" has the same pent up hunger and youthful vigor that pub rocker Graham Parker had when he released his classic 1976 album "Howlin' Wind". Years of angst, sweat and tears encapsulated in a set of songs that felt like an instant "greatest hits" by an unknown artist. Parker may seem a strange reference but the way Parker brought his white hot blue-eyed R & B to the Rock world is how this Billy Jones disc enters the Blues world today (despite being 52!). It's not a new art form but a fresh amalgam of popular styles. Listen how he meshes an Eric Clapton-esque guitar lick into a sexy, falsetto-sweetened Soul song like "Come Back Tonight" or the thumping bass n' drum backbone of "I Like It Like That", followed by ominous piano, in what's a brilliant piece of minimalist Funk, then back around to the Staxy Soul Blues piledriver "Da' Cemetary Bluez" where he squeezes out some (Albert) King-sized guitar lines. Perhaps more potent is the Howlin' Wolf-meets-N'Awlins Funk on "Ain't Good Lookin'", featuring some tight drums by Gabriel Peeters. If that isn't eclectic enough for you dig his Reggae-fied "Revolution Blues", Uptown Soul "Ain't No Secret" or good ole' barroom Blues, "Barnyard Bluez". Kitchen sink too. This is as fresh sounding as anything I've heard since Johnny Guitar Watson.
"My Hometown" (Black And Tan 2007)
1 Here With You
**1/2 Last year's CD, "Tha Bluez", by Billy Jones was one of the best of that year which makes the disappointing "My Hometown" so puzzling. His gift for groove and melody was superb on the former platter but is sorely missing this time out. Opening with the melodically indolent but lyrically-inspired Contemporary R&B of "Here With You" Jones seems intent on adding even more genres to his repertoire that already includes Blues, Funk, true R & B, Pop & Southern Soul. It's a first person rumination about "growing up in the ghetto" that packs a poignant wallop. It's a good start. The musically similar, yet slighter, "Right Now" crops up a track or two later. Before such we get the generic rockabilly-like "Pull My 44" whose trigger never seems to get tripped. The tone changes on tack 4 with the heavy-hitting "Crystal" featuring an arena rock guitar riff and lyrics pleading with crystal methamphetamine to "let me be". Crystal meth is mentioned again on the socially-aware "My Hometown", a funkysmooth piece spiced with Spanish guitar licks. Jones laments over folks "doing the O.G. thing" and that "Every house in this ghetto town is burned down from cooking crystal methamphetamine". Unfortunately these two bright spots are collected with tedious half-written clunkers like "You Upset My Soul", "Never Let You Go" & "Blues Come Callin'". The latter is a prime example of why this record fails- it's basically an idea, a riff, a groove, that's missing a bona fide song with a memorable refrain, verse or outstanding solo or two. A rush job? The message is deep and heartfelt but the music doesn't deliver...
Billy Jones Bluez "I'm A Bluesman" (American Blues 2013)
1 The Iceman 4:22
Billy Jones & MiXendorp "Remix EP" (Black And Tan 2016)
1 Ain't Good Lookin'
The Billy Jones Band "Funky Blues & Southern Soul, Vol. 1" (The Billy Jones Band 2017)
1 My Love Is Real
"Billy Jones On Black And Tan, Vol. 1" (Black And Tan 2018)
1 Ainīt That a Shame