Portland, Oregon's Lloyd Jones has built himself up to near cult status in the Pacific Northwest, but is little known around the rest of the blues world. Perhaps his excellent new debut CD for Blind Pig Records will get the bespectacled guitarist a little more deserved recognition. It's been a few years since I've seen Mr. Jones in person, and I had forgotten the power of the man's voice. There's a nice tribute to Jones from Delbert McClinton in the CD's liner notes, very appropriate since I hear a vocal similarity between the two artists. And with Jones's solid funky blues guitar work and a tight backing band, Love Gotcha becomes one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
Jones mixes blues and soul with a funky beat to concoct an extremely tasty mix of music. Most of the tunes on the disc are Jones original, with my favorite being the B.B.-style slow blues "Old News" ("...I used to be her headline, now I'm just old news...").
The opening cut is a real keeper, as Jones stars on both vocals and guitar on the funky soulful number "Nickels And Dimes." This cut immediately signals to the listener that Love Gotcha isn't going to be your normal 12 bar blues album ... I'd love to hear James Brown sing this one. Pianist Glenn Holstrom throws in a nice Hammond B-3 solo in the middle.
The uptempo blues shuffle "Treat Me Like The Dog I Am" is another strong original number with good blues guitar from Jones.
For a complete change of pace, Jones picks up his acoustic guitar for a humorous solo blues "Big Ol' Shirt." We all have our favorite old pieces of clothing, so every listener can identify with the subject matter here.
This CD, Love Gotcha, is just as comfortable as a big ol' shirt. Try it on today, and I guarantee you'll become a big ol' Lloyd Jones fan.
--- Bill Mitchell
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