Notes from "Live At The Dead Goat Saloon"
Jones represents the new generation of Blues guitarists; steeped in the
tradition of their legendary
forefathers like Buddy Guy, the Kings and Albert Collins. Respecting that
legend yet stretching it at the same time. More than most players of his
generation, LA honors those roots, flipping from style to style with the
ease of a master craftsman yet with the soul of a timeless artist.
After honing his skills with such legends as Joe Houston, Pinetop Perkins,
Otis Rush, Jesse "Wild Bill" Austin, and Eddie Kirkland, L.A.
now strikes out on his own with "Live at the Dead Goat Saloon".
Recorded in front of a Blues hungry audience at the Dead Goat Saloon
in Salt Lake City in the summer of 1997, this recording shows why LA Jones
is a Blues guitarist to be reckoned with.
Backed by the outstanding rhythm section of Simon
Maria and Jamie Reeves, LA bends, slings, pulls, hammers and thrusts his
own brand of guitar bravado with an intensity and excitement that transcends
the club environment.
an expert interpreter (as shown in some of his previous recorded works),
LA shows that he is a formidable writer as well, penning tunes in the
same vein as the masters yet imposing his own unique structural and melodic
twists and turns. From the hard shuffles of "Stop Now" and "I'm
a Loner" to the country-style swing of "She Can't Not Be
Satisfied" to the ballad "Pebble In The Sky", LA gives
his wry commentary on modern life while maintaining his Blues sensibilities.
Musically, you'll especially enjoy "the worlds longest ending"
on "Mr. Fixit", turning that song into the tune that refused
to die, yet we love every soul wrenching, creative minute of it.
But what's more, LA has the SOUND. While many players
play the notes well, only the greats have that SOUND. It's big, not loud;
subtle, not quiet; dynamic, yet controlled. The SOUND dictates where the notes
leave off and the true Blues experience begins. And more than any other of the
new generation of gunslinger guitar players, LA Jones best typifies that true
Blues experience. "I don't do anything else," LA once told me.
"I just live to play the Blues." And this is what separates him from
the legions of other musicians who merely play it, yet don't live it. This
is why listening to this, or any other recording that LA Jones participates
in, is the real, honest-to-God, absolutely-for-sure Blues Experience.
So bask in the experience, because you'll be enjoying
this record for years to come.
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Pebble In The Sky
Stranded - Live
Review from Electric Blues
LA Jones & The Blues Messengers
Live At The Dead Goat Saloon Shattered 1998
Review Published Feb 15, 1999 EB Rating - 4.5
According to the biography at their website, L.A. Jones &
the Blues Messengers have been around for quite a while, playing the blues in
roadhouses 20 years or so. In that time they've produced ten or so independent
discs, and in 1998 released their first commercially distributed CD, Live at
the Dead Goat Saloon. Why it took so long for them to get a CD out into commercial
circulation is hard to figure, but I for one am glad they finally got it done.
This is your basic, down to business three piece band of guitar,
bass and drums. While there are only 7 songs in the set list, the total time
for the CD runs over 56 minutes. This obviously means there are some long songs,
but L.A. keeps things interesting the vast majority of the time. There is plenty
of great blues on this CD. L.A. Jones is quite a study of blues guitar. He plays
passages in a wide variety of styles from subtle to frantic, often borrowing
from several classic masters, with impressive dexterity and accuracy. Muddy
Waters, Albert King, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy all come easily to mind as I listen
to this CD.
There are three straight up blues numbers, Mr. Fix-It, Pebble
In The Sky, and Long Distance Love. I'm A Loner and Stop Now are shuffles,
and She Can't Not Be Satisfied is kind of a blend of swing/rockabilly. Stranded,
my favorite song on the CD, is reminiscent of Buddy Guy on one of his run-away
tirades, and would surely make Buddy proud. In the set closer, Long Distance
Love, L.A. pays tribute to Albert King. There's no doubt about it, he has
Albert's extreme bends, subtle nuances and tone down pat.
While I have made a point of L.A. Jones' ability to play in
the style of others, I don't mean to imply he's merely copying them.
He interjects plenty of his own unique stylings, while blending all these sounds
together to produce some mighty fine blues. And L.A. skills don't stop on
the fretboard. He wrote all the songs in this set except one.
I'll close with one more "no doubt about it". If you are a fan
of electric blues guitar, this CD is a must have for your collection. - ElectricBlues,
from Southwest Blues
Jones: Live at the Dead Goat Saloon (SHA016) LA Jones' Live At The Dead Goat
Saloon is a well-executed CD. It captures the live performance of a blues
player who obviously wants his audience to hear his own voice but to also
enjoy and appreciate other important styles of blues guitar played during
the past few decades. For me, a show of this sort is ideal, as is the CD because
the listener can just sit back and enjoy a variety of tunes and not just a
set of similar sounding songs.
Like all fine players, LA Jones is a person
who has spent a great deal of time listening to the finest electric blues
musicians of our age. Names like Albert King, B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie
Christian, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters come to mind.
Yet through it all, LA maintains his own feeling
and style of playing and does it with a sense of humor. From the opening shuffle
"I'm A Loner" through his "Long Distance Call" influenced "Mr. Fix-It" - in
which he attempts to set a new record for the world's longest ending to a
song - onwards to the end of the CD, the listener gets a full dose of strong
Mixed in with these styles is even an up-tempo
jump blues that lets LA show off just how versatile a player he really is.
The styles here range from the wailing styles of Muddy Water's slide playing
through the percussive attack blues of Albert King to the smooth touch and
vibrato oriented style of BB King and on to the swing feel started by folks
like Charley Christian and Dranjo Rheinhart.
But LA isn't just copying these great players.
He uses their work as a foundation for a show that celebrates them without
indulging in just straight covers of the tunes of those masters. In the midst
of all this, he demonstrates abilities on the guitar that are not trivial;
I was impressed with his use of harmonics as well as other technical approaches
using vibrato bar and his slide playing; Muddy would have enjoyed it, I believe.
Good stuff by a very skilled blues musician. This CD moves across a wide range
of blues and is definitely worth adding to your collection of up and coming
Jim Wells, Southwest
Blues Magazine, Dallas TX