JW-Jones likes to change things up for his albums and after an excellent live album with just his road band we get a big band album with no less than thirteen horns! He describes this as his self-isolation project but he was able to assemble the whole band for much of the recording. With some of the songs drawn from his back catalogue and some songs you will recognize, you’ll be impressed with these fresh arrangements and JW-Jones’ imaginative guitar solos. He is also no slouch as a big band vocalist. He credits producer Eric Eggleston for the ‘wider & bigger’ sound achieved here. “Blue Jean Jacket”, originally from Belmont Boulevard gets a complete makeover. As do “Same Mistakes” and “Ain’t Gonna Beg”, also originals from earlier albums. The first single is “Snatching’ It Back” also known as “Snatch It Back and Hold it” by Junior Wells and JW-Jones has a live-in-the-studio version on YouTube as well. One song that seems a poor choice is “Bye Bye Love”, the hit by the Everly Brothers, which despite the sterling production, group vocals and guitar solo just doesn’t fit. “Drowning on Dry Land” on the other hand, an oft-covered standard gets a riveting performance complete with sax solo. He also wanted to show that he could mix some traditional horn band sounds in this contemporary mix with “It’s Obdacious” an R&B hit from 1955 from the Buddy Johnson Orchestra, one of the last surviving big bands. “The Things I Used To Do” sticks pretty close to the Guitar Slim original but then the Ray Charles arrangement has served the song well for over seventy years. I think though that even Guitar Slim would have been impressed with JW-Jones’ guitar solo. When it comes to recording BB King songs, not many artists chose from the later albums, which many fans considered too pop-oriented. In choosing “When It All Comes Down”, from Midnight Believer, I think he chose well, It’s a much overlooked song written by the Crusaders for BB and it gets a great performance here with its BB-styled guitar solo. With his road rhythm section of Will Lauren on drums and Jacob Clarke on acoustic and electric basses contributing enthusiastic group vocals, joined on occasion by JW-Jones’ wife, Brit Wynne-Jones. They are joined by returning keyboard wiz Jesse Whiteley who contributed some of the magnificent horn charts. Texas horn master Kaz Kazanoff also supplied masterful arrangements. JW-Jones has certainly found a way to deal with self-isolation, this album should do as well on the sales charts as his previous ones have.

August 2020 - Downchild
August 2020 - Top Blues