Bobby Jones featuring The Mannish Boys - Comin’ Back Hard
By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
11 songs; 41:40; Library Quality
Style: Chicago Blues
“All modern blues albums stink. Some stink less than others!” Dr. Chrank E. Irascible
With an attitude like that, the cranky doctor truly bestows a high honor on any CD he actually likes. Regarding Bobby Jones’ new release, he thoroughly likes it, which is way beyond his usual highest evaluation, “It doesn’t suck too badly.”
About Bobby Jones’ “Comin’ Back Hard:” - “My heels are in the air upside down over this one,” Dr. Irascible says. “Bobby Jones is a soulful blues singer with a smooth whiskey soaked voice that’s gruff when he needs to be and smooth when he wants to be.” Further, “The Mannish Boys have a focus on this one, and they put out a hell of a record, especially the cuts with Kid Ramos screaming on the Telecaster [guitar].”
I personally know the good doctor; he is an actual person, and only his name has been changed to protect the guilty. He is a very knowledgeable blues expert who got hooked on blues as a teenager during the British invasion. He has a vast collection of blues recordings and has hosted more than one blues radio show. He constantly amuses and amazes me by rejecting 99% of new albums. “Did you like this one?” I wistfully ask. “No, not really,” he almost always says. “It didn’t do anything for me.”
This is the solo debut CD by Chicago Blues veteran Bobby Jones, the latest addition to the all-star blues revue The Mannish Boys. This collection of songs was recorded during the verysame sessions that produced their latest release, “Lowdown Feelin.’” The spotlight here is squarely on Jones. Could anyone have a voice as good as BB King? Bobby Jones comes as close as spots on dice!
With a title reminiscent of Muddy Water’s comeback album, “Hard Again,” Jones recorded, in the classic three-minute style, eleven covers with The Mannish Boys featuring Finis Tasby, Randy Chortkoff, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Frank Goldwasser, Ronnie James Weber, Tom Leavey and Richard Innes, plus special guests Al Blake, Lynwood Slim, Junior Watson and Fred Kaplan.
The authentic blues start immediately on the first track, Hank Ballard’s “She’s The One.” A two second drum roll is followed by Bobby’s formidable vocals singing, “Everybody...Everybody...
Everybody wants to know why I love her, I love her so.” It’ll make you think of BB King singing “Everybody Wants To Know Why I Sing the Blues.” By mid song, Bobby says, “Play the blues in here,” and Kirk “Eli” Fletcher peels off an outstanding run.
Paris Slim’s bell-like tone on guitar sets off Willie Dixon’s and LP Weaver’s “Two headed Woman.” Yep, she’s got “two eyes on me and two more eyes on you” – now that’s just classic fun.
So is “Three Handed Woman” who is “right handed, left handed, and underhanded, too!”Other favorites: Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” “Come In Out of The Rain” written by bassist Tom Leavey with Kid Ramos playing lead guitar. Kid smokes again on Ike Turner’s “How Long Will It Last,” the set closer.
Louisiana native Bobby Jones began his musical career as a blues singer in Chicago, earning his stripes on the blues scene there in the late '50s and early '60s. Years later, here is his debut CD. If this one doesn’t garner some award nominations, there is something wrong. It has already received the highest praise that I know, Dr. Chrank E. loves it!
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is
a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly
radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from
4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL