Blues Bytes


September 2020

Lloyd Jones
Tennessee Run


Lloyd Jones

It's been a while since I've heard anything from Lloyd Jones, but his latest, Tennessee Run, has been worth the wait. This album is soulful, funky and brassy, and Jones' voice with just a touch of rasp in it is perfect for the material. The core backing band consists of Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Steve Mackey (bass), Kenneth Blevins (drums), Reinhardt Melz (percussion), Jim Hoke (tenor sax), Quyentin Ware (trumpet) and Roy Agee (trombone), with Etta Britt and Jackie Wilson (no, not THAT Jackie Wilson) adding background vocals.

Each of the 14 cuts on Tennessee Run are  originals, showing that not only can Mr. Jones sing and play the guitar but he's also one heckuva songwriter.

Everything you need to know about the music on Tennessee Run comes at you on the first two cuts, with the wall of sound hitting you square in the face. "You Got Me Good" is just plain raucous soul/blues, an up-tempo number that sounds at first a little like Otis Redding's "Can't Turn You Loose." The rapid tempo continues on the happy blues shuffle, "Me & You," with the horns really blasting away as Jones sings about how he's got everything that his woman needs. Switching over to a tale of lost love, Teresa James shares vocals with Jones on the mid-tempo blues, "I Wish I Could Remember Loving You," with McKendree contributing very fine piano accompaniment.

Just about everyone reading this review can identify with the theme of the funky "Where's My Phone?," as Jones spends just over three minutes on a frantic search for his cellphone. We share his frustration during the search as well as the joy he expresses when he finally  finds it. That leads into a slow, soulful blues, "A True Love Never Dies," a love song from Jones to the love of his life (and, no, it's not his cellphone this time!). As expected from the title, "Bayou Boys" has that Louisiana swamp beat, with some polyrhythmic drumming from the always excellent Blevins, an echo-y guitar break from Jones, and very nice organ playing by McKendree.

Before diving deep into the liner notes, I made a note that at times Jones' voice sound very reminiscent to that of Delbert McClinton. While there is some similarity, McClinton himself actually shows up as a guest on the mid-tempo blues, "Everybody's Somebody's Fool." The pair sound pretty good together. The band increases the tempo on "Turn Me Loose," Jones' plea to his woman to let him go because, "... you don't love me anymore, not the way you used to love me before ..."

Things get all funky again in a New Orleans way on "That's All I Want," with LaRhonda Steele joining Jones on vocals. McKendree adds that requisite piano accompaniment while the horns do their thing. Jones tells Ms. Steele that he doesn't want a lot of material possessions, but just wants her in his arms. The funk remains on "Love Is Everything," with female backing vocals in the mix and a killer blues guitar solo from Jones who again is head over heels in love during the course of this song. His woman apparently gave Jones the heave-ho as heard on the greasy blues, "Chicken Bones," because that's all she left for him. McKendree gives us solid work on both piano and organ.

Jones falls back in love on the mid-tempo blues, "Every Time We Meet," this time pouring out his heart with some of his most soulful vocals yet. The funky blues shuffle, "Dilly Dally," has him lamenting how his woman is treating him while he lays down an abundance of wah wah effects on guitar. Closing this very fine CD is "Chevrolet Angel," a horn-driven funky blues in which his angel in a midnight blue Corvette arrives just when his Ford has broken down by the road, and she convinces him to leave his car there and to fly away with her. Now that's a good deal.

I hope we don't have to wait long for the next album by Lloyd Jones, but at least Tennessee Run will keep his fans happy for quite some time. Don't hesitate to add this one to your collection.

--- Bill Mitchell



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