STYLE: Blues RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155802-22990 LABEL: Airline FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Following on from 2009's well-received 'Starting All Over Again' album, Blues Band and former Manfred Mann frontman Paul Jones has released - perhaps not surprisingly given his radio, Christian ministry and touring commitments - only his third solo release in over four decades. Thanks to the respect Jones commands in the music industry, luminaries such as Joe Bonamassa and Jools Holland make cameo appearances with the latter prompting some virtuoso piano/blues harp interplay on the likes of the newly-penned "Mountain Boogie" and an excellent version of the much-covered stalwart "Trouble In Mind". As ever, it's Jones' fluid and breathtaking harmonica playing that shines through although all full credit must go to backing band members Jake Andrews and Mike Thompson who turn in some great guitar and piano solos respectively. Thanks to his background in '60s pop, West End musicals and the blues, Jones refreshingly covers a fair bit of musical ground allowing this to be an eclectic collection that will appeal to a wider audience than your usual bog standard blues release. For instance, mainstream numbers such as a faithful version of Nat King Cole's "Straighten Up And Fly Right" - showcasing the experienced showman's ability to turn up the charm when required - and a simply beautiful rendition of the Etta Jones classic "Don't Go To Strangers" sit comfortably next to originals like the title track and the light-hearted but assertive "Sit Back Down" whilst bluesier tracks like "Beggar For The Blues" and "Lonely Nights" communicate the heartbreak side of the genre without ever being maudlin. Jones' Christian faith is referenced in an impassioned cover of the old Chairman Of The Board hit "I'm On My Way To A Better Place" which offers up a link stylistically to Jones' Manfred Mann days to add the icing on the cake of a hugely enjoyable release that sees the veteran performer on top form.
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