EB Rating - 4.5
- I Am A Loner
- How Blue Can You Get?
- Searchin' For A Home
- Overall Junction
- Boogie Child
- The Sky Is Crying
- Stranded/Sweet Home Chicago medley
- A New Old Fashioned Love
- L.A. Jones
- Gigi Todesca
- Vincenzo Barattin
California's L.A. Jones & the Blues Messengers' new live CD
"Live at the Pink Pather" marks the second live release in a row for this band, which is A-OK
by me... I happen to prefer live recordings as long as they're well engineered. This CD has been
too long in coming, as the band's previous CD, "Live at the Dead Goat Saloon"
was released in 1998. But now that I have a copy in my posession I can say it was definitely worth the wait.
Recorded in Italy before an audience that comes off a bit too reserve, it seems as though L.A. Jones
is pulling out all the stops in a gutsy effort to ignite the crowd. I'm not sure if he succeeded in that quest,
but he did succeed in recording some most impressive and inspired guitar work. He's beefed up his guitar's tone a bit
from the "Dead Goat Saloon" days, and at times pushs the limits of his equipment to the edge. Vocals as well are improved
and stronger than before. Performing as a three piece band of guitar, bass and drums, the group is tight and well balanced.
The audio quality of the recording is excellent.
One thing hasn't change though. L.A. obviously relishes dealing in extremes. As with the previous CD,
he plays quite a varied range of styles. On one end of the scale the CD features finger pickin' blues in the song
"Searchin' For A Home" and love ballad blues in "A New Old Fashioned Love". On the other end are songs like the
very rambunctious "Stranded/Sweet Home Chicago" medley and a smokin' version of B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get?"
In between these extremes are some very true sounding Albert King licks in "Overall Junction" and "The Sky is Cryin'",
and some JL Hooker styled endless boogie in "Boogie Child".
L.A. Jones wrote 4 of the 8 songs, and there's little or no drop-off as he moves from excellent covers to his own originals.
However, I would have to pick "How Blue Can You Get?" as my favorite cut on the disc. L.A. is on the edge with this one, and in the opening leads you
can hear him battling to keep his guitar under control. But you come to realize the fight was worth it when the payoff comes... a searing, 15 second note
that cuts deep and draws blood. During the remaining 12 or so minutes of the song, L.A. delivers up a smorgasbord of guitar leads.
I guess you've figured out by now I'm giving this disc a hearty recommendation to any fan of blues guitar. While placing your order,
if you don't have "Live at the Dead Goat Saloon", go ahead and pick that one up too.